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Heavy equipment used to steal ATM from parking lot

Special Photo. This piece of heavy equipment was stolen from the Peachtree Academy construction site on U.S. Highway 278 and driven to the United Community Bank on the Bypass Road. It was used to lift the ATM in the bank's parking lot onto the back of a red Dodge truck about 4 a.m. Sunday, police said.

Special Photo. This piece of heavy equipment was stolen from the Peachtree Academy construction site on U.S. Highway 278 and driven to the United Community Bank on the Bypass Road. It was used to lift the ATM in the bank's parking lot onto the back of a red Dodge truck about 4 a.m. Sunday, police said.

COVINGTON -- In what was apparently a well-thought-out caper, thieves stole the entire ATM machine from United Community Bank on Bypass Road in the early morning hours Sunday, according to the Covington Police Department.

Lt. Paul Dailey said at least two men were involved in stealing a forklift and using it to pull the ATM machine from its concrete moorings and load it on the back of a pickup truck. They then drove away from the bank that is located next door to Zaxby's.

"They used a construction forklift from the old 84 Lumber site, now Peachtree Academy," Dailey said. "They stole it from that site, drove it up (U.S. Highway) 278, went through the old Wal-Mart parking lot, down the Bypass Road and pulled into the United Community Bank. They went around back and got into position and popped the ATM up and loaded it onto a red Dodge pickup with a silver stripe."

He said police believe the back glass of the truck was broken out when the ATM machine was loaded onto it.

Dailey said the actual theft of the ATM occurred about 4:15 a.m., but three hours earlier they had attempted to spray paint the lenses on the outside security cameras at the bank.

"They didn't do all of it, so we could see bits and pieces of what they did," Dailey said, adding that while they were spray painting the cameras, the men wore bandannas over their faces so they have no description of the men.

Neither the ATM machine nor the truck has been recovered.

But the good news is that because of a function at Eastside High School, the police are hopeful someone in the community may have seen this highly unusual activity.

"The Eastside football team had a Midnight Madness going on down there at the school, so there was quite a bit of traffic going through there around 2:30 or 3 o'clock in the morning that normally isn't there," he said. "Somebody had to see something. They had to have seen a blue construction forklift going down the road at an odd time of the morning, and it may have been followed by a red truck."

Dailey is asking anyone who might have seen anything to contact the police department and tell them about it. He said there are photos posted at www.covingtonpolice.com to help refresh memories of seeing activity involving the forklift between the construction site where it was stolen and the bank where it was left.

Those with tips can all the CPD at 770-786-7605 and ask for Lt. Paul Dailey or Detective Steve Fowler. Tips can also be given to the CPD anonymously by visiting www.covingtonpolice.com and clicking on "Most Wanted" and then "Anonymous Tips."