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Distraction and attempted thefts at NI cash machines could all be linked, warn police

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Detectives investigating a number of reports of distraction thefts and attempted thefts at cash machines believe the incidents may be linked. (PA)

Detectives investigating a number of reports of distraction thefts and attempted thefts at cash machines believe the incidents may be linked. (PA)

Detectives investigating a number of reports of distraction thefts and attempted thefts at cash machines believe the incidents may be linked. (PA)

Detectives investigating a number of reports of distraction thefts and attempted thefts at cash machines believe the incidents may be linked.

They happened in counties Armagh, Down and Tyrone on Saturday.

At 1.10pm, it was reported that a man using the ATM on Hill Street in Newry was approached by two men, one of whom is said to have distracted him, while the second man snatched the money he had withdrawn.

The suspects are described as being aged in their twenties, of a slim build and both are reported to have worn tracksuits.

Just after 2pm, it was reported that approximately 10 minutes earlier, a man accessing the ATM on Charlotte Street in Warrenpoint was approached by three men who asked him for money and then attempted to reach across him and grab cash. No money was taken.

Later that afternoon, at 4.20pm, it was reported a woman using the same machine had been approached at 2pm by two men. One of them tried to jump in front of the woman and press the key pad of the machine while the other stood behind her. A sum of money was reported as being taken.

At approximately 5.50pm, an attempted theft was reported involving a man who had used a cash machine on Upper English Street in Armagh at around 5.10pm.

It was reported two men approached him. One tried to change the transaction amount. However, the men ran off when the customer shouted at them. No money was taken.

Just before 7pm, a report of an attempted theft was made on the Burn Road in Cookstown where a female was reportedly using the ATM when she was confronted by a number of men who tried to take cash from her. When challenged, it was reported the men fled empty handed.

At around 7.45pm, police received a report of a man using the cash machine on William Street in Cookstown had a sum of money taken from him.

Three males have since been arrested - a 16-year-old on suspicion of two counts of attempted theft and four counts of theft, a 17-year-old on suspicion of one count of theft, and an 18-year-old male on suspicion of four counts of theft.

Belfast Telegraph