Dutch and German police have busted a criminal gang that created video tutorials on how to bomb cash machines, only to blow themselves up, officials said Thursday.
European Union police agency Europol said a suspect was killed and another badly injured in the Dutch city of Utrecht after a trial run at an illegal “training center” for explosive attacks on ATMs went wrong.
Police eventually made nine arrests during an 18-month operation targeting the gang, which is linked to at least 15 bombings at ATMs in Germany, resulting in 2.15 million euros ($2.5 million) in damages, it said. .
A Europol spokeswoman told AFP: “The criminals were creating video tutorials that were given to other criminals in person.”
“The prime suspect – a 29-year-old — blew himself up while making a tutorial video. His partner – a 24-year-old – was seriously injured and taken into custody,” she said.
The blast took place in September 2020.
Europol and its affiliate judicial agency Eurojust said in a joint statement that the police search began after authorities in Osnabrück, Germany, identified “suspicious orders” of ATM machines from a German company.
Surveillance led police across the border to Utrecht in the Netherlands where the 29- and 24-year-old suspects were allegedly running the training centre.
“The pair were ordering different models of ATMs and recording tutorials on how to fly them effectively,” EU agencies said.
“The cash machines were blown up using domestic explosive devices, posing a serious threat to residents and spectators,” he said.
Two people were blown up “during a test run of the explosion”.
Dutch police, assisted by Europol, arrested three people on Tuesday during raids in the vicinity of Utrecht, Amsterdam and The Hague, during which seven properties were also searched.
Those three suspects will be extradited to Germany. Another six people were arrested in the Netherlands last year.
Europol said bomb attacks on ATMs are a “growing concern” in Europe.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)