Criminals try to blast open Hamilton ATM with pipe bombs

Wellington: New Zealand police say two criminals tried to blast open a shopping centre ATM early on Thursday using seven homemade pipe bombs.

The would-be thieves targeted an ANZ ATM located on the outside wall of the shopping centre.Credit:Damian White

The attempt failed after only one of the bombs exploded and a second partially detonated before the suspects ran away, according to police. The ATM was only slightly damaged and no cash was stolen.

But the incident, rare in the country, left many people feeling rattled.

“This is incredibly dangerous behaviour,” police inspector Andrea McBeth said.

She said police were making it a priority to find the people responsible and hold them to account.

McBeth said security footage indicated the suspects walked up to the ATM at the Chartwell Shopping Centre in Hamilton just after 2.30am with two packages containing the bombs and tried to detonate them simultaneously.

She said each of the bombs was about 30 centimetres long and they weren't particularly sophisticated or powerful.

Authorities temporarily closed the centre and some nearby streets while they searched the area. A military bomb disposal team was called and disposed of the five unexploded bombs.

The ATM stands at an exterior wall of the shopping centre at an ANZ bank branch.

Yolanda Julius, who lives across from the shopping centre, told news agency RNZ that a loud bang woke up her and her husband and she saw two people wearing black clothing running across the carpark. She said their faces were covered.


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