The Texas Penal Code describes burglary as entering a home or building to engage in theft or another action that classifies as a felony offense. As noted on Texas.gov, the action of “entering” a structure also includes an intrusion of a body part or a physical object connected to a person’s body.
Some ATMs and coin-operated machines sit outside of buildings. They do not require anyone to enter a physical structure to access them. Burglary, however, occurs by breaking a machine or entering it by pushing objects inside of it to retrieve its contents. Taking money or lottery tickets from vending machines, for example, could lead to felony charges.
Prosecutors may use camera, GPS or DNA evidence to file burglary charges
When pursuing burglary charges, prosecutors may review footage from a building’s or an ATM’s security cameras. Investigators may also search for DNA evidence left at the location or review information from an ATM’s GPS unit.
The Texas Bankers Association reports that some individuals use pickup trucks or forklifts to remove outdoor ATMs. According to the TBA, it could take between 30 and 90 seconds to drive up to a bank’s ATM and detach it from its foundation. After driving away with the machine, individuals may then break into it.
An organized gang operation allegedly burglarized 50 or more ATMs
According to the WFAA-TV website, law enforcement officials arrested eight individuals allegedly organized and connected to at least 50 ATM burglaries. As the report notes, the arrests may result in charges involving ATM thefts throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth region.
Law enforcement may not always act on sufficient evidence to convict on burglary charges after making an arrest. Additional evidence presented in favor of a defendant may counter the prosecution’s claims.