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"Search for black Audi after attempt to blow up a cash machine", "Neighbours hear loud bang, perpetrators flee in Audi", "Car chase through three federal states": headlines like these have become commonplace around Germany as raids on cash machines have increased in number.
Some 369 ATMs were destroyed by explosions last year, a 38-percent increase compared with 2017 and 10 times more than a decade ago, according to data from the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).
Crimes - Pattern - Perpetrators - Detonator - Fuse
Most of the crimes follow the same pattern, with perpetrators using an electric detonator or fuse to set off a mixture of gases pumped into the machine—or more rarely a solid explosive.
Carried out late at night, perpetrators often plan the attacks "months in advance", according to Europol.
Crimes - Man - October - Attack - Ticket
The crimes can be risky, with one man killed in October 2018 while attempting a similar attack on a ticket machine at a local train station in Halle, southwest of Berlin.
But successful attacks on ATMs are highly lucrative.
May - Raiders - Commerzbank - Cash - Machine
In May, raiders who blasted open a Commerzbank cash machine in Eschborn, near Frankfurt, made off with 190,000 euros ($215,000).
The police managed to grab one suspect who returned to the scene of the crime in the small hours, but his accomplices and the cash have disappeared without trace, Frankfurt prosecutor Christian Hartwig said.
Cash - Machine - Crackers - Netherlands - Europe
Many cash machine crackers come "from the Netherlands and central Europe" to Germany simply because of its favourable geography, he added.
Germany - Position - Centre - Europe - Dense
Germany's geographical position at the centre of Europe and its dense web of motorways, much of which is not covered by a speed limit, means that criminals can more easily shake off police than elsewhere—driving German-made sports cars, naturally.
One particularly notorious group has plagued the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, which shares a border with the Netherlands and where the largest number of bank raids...
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