Clovis News

Stolen ATMs found buried at Clovis business

Fresno police are looking for a man believed to be responsible for stealing two ATMs that were found buried under concrete at a Clovis business complex Wednesday.

The ATMs were recovered at 1146 Barstow Ave. after police received an anonymous tip, Fresno police Sgt. Mark Hudson said.

The suspect -- James Ward, 29, of Fresno -- owned a plumbing business that recently moved out of the complex, Hudson said.

The recovered ATMs, two of three stolen in Fresno since Jan. 1, were found about 6 feet under a layer of concrete, he said.

Ward is the primary suspect in all three ATM thefts, but police do not believe he acted alone, Hudson said.

About a month ago, a new business moved into the Clovis location where the ATMs were discovered, but the new tenant had no idea the machines were there, Hudson said.

The first ATM heist took place on New Year's Day, when thieves used a pickup to smash the windows of the Fast and Easy convenience store on the 6400 block of East Shields Avenue. They tied a tow strap to the ATM and dragged it out of the store, then loaded it into the truck bed.

On Feb. 23, thieves made off with an ATM in a golf cart taken from Fort Washington golf course on the 10000 block of North Millbrook Avenue. On March 7, two men stole an ATM from Blackbeard's Family Entertainment Center on the 4000 block of North Chestnut Avenue.

Two weeks later after the attempted theft of an ATM at Fig Garden Golf Club on the 7700 block of North Van Ness Boulevard, two men were seen fleeing down a fairway in a golf cart, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department reported.

Deputies later found that the two had used an all-terrain vehicle to pull the top off the ATM. The suspects fled before they could get any cash.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-7867.

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