Thieves with explosives target ATMs in Amsterdam, Utrecht grocery stores

Hague police officer
A police officer in The Hague. Sept. 11, 2015DutchlightDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Explosives were used on an ATM inside an Albert Heijn grocery store on the Osdorpplein in Amsterdam as part of an attempted robbery early Tuesday morning. Shortly after, two teens were caught in Utrecht, suspected of trying to blast open a cash machine in a Plus supermarket.

Police said the suspects used a stolen Fiat Panda to smash into the Amsterdam West building at about 3 a.m. before attempting to blow the cash machine open. No money was taken, according to a statement from police.

There were no arrests in the immediate aftermath. The suspects fled the scene on scooters. The police have asked anyone who heard the explosion, and anyone with knowledge of the suspects to come forward.

The damage to the Albert Heijn was minimal and the supermarket opened as usual, a spokesperson told NL Times. They said they will cooperate with authorities regarding efforts to stop the practice of using explosives to burglarize the cash machines, but they would not say if the organization was re-evaluating allowing ATMs to be present in stores.

Separately, a 16 and 17-year-old were arrested in Utrecht in the early hours on Tuesday under suspicion of attempting to rob an ATM inside a Plus supermarket, police said.

The police were sent to the city’s Smaragdplein at about 3:30 a.m. following reports of a smashed window in the supermarket. When officers arrived on scene, the suspects attempted to escape but were quickly apprehended after a foot chase.

Assistance was provided by the Defense ministry’s explosives clearance team when the incendiary material was discovered.

Both attempts come nearly 65 days after Dutch banking association NVB said most ATMs accessible from the street would be shutdown overnight in an effort to hinder the ability of criminals to blow the machines open with explosives. Last month the NVB confirmed the ATMs would remain restricted during overnight hours for at least another year.