Stolen ATM replaced in Murupara

Photo: Christine Yardley/Stuff.

After a week without cash, the Bay of Plenty town of Murupara will soon have a new ATM - the third one this year.

Last Monday, June 3, thieves in a stolen loader ripped the cash machine from the wall at the New Zealand Credit Union, forcing the bank to close its doors to any customer wanting cold hard cash.

The machine was found eight kilometres down the road, abandoned and unopened.

Townspeople were forced to ask for cash from shopkeepers, but there was only so much dosh to go around.

The theft was the second incident of its kind in just two months.

In the first incident this year, hoodlums accessed the town's only bank through the roof and attempted to slice open the cash machine with an angle grinder.

A community leaders' hui was held on Monday night to find solutions, Murupara Community Board member Mem Jenner says.

Some suggested installing bollards, while others suggested a more prominent police presence and security guards, she says.

"There was a theft at the Bakehouse yesterday, a fulla was trying to take a pie and he didn't have any money.

"These are the sorts of things we're seeing now.”

A hui with the whole community will be held on Friday, Mem says.

NZCU Baywide general manager sales, marketing and channels, Andy Quayle says a review was done before the bank decided to install another ATM.

They looked at staff safety, Murupara's need for access to cash, and worked with the community to identify steps to help prevent similar situations from happening in the future.

The bank is also offering customers free transport, once a week, to the Rotorua branch to access cash.

"We have listened to the needs of the Murupara community following the attempted ATM theft and acknowledge the struggles with no access to cash in the town since the incident.

"Staff safety remains paramount and as such no cash will be held inside the branch. This ensures meeting the needs of customer owners, and the local community, can be balanced with staff safety by way of a secure ATM machine accessible 24/7.

"This service is in line with our philosophy of people helping people and provides some simple support during this period. Details about the service will be provided via the branch on Friday 14th June."

The culprits, believed to have been towing the trailer on a black 2019 Ford Everest, have not been caught yet, police said in a statement.

Sergeant Bryan Newcombe says police in the Bay of Plenty already provide a 24/7 response with staff deployed across the district based on demand, including Murupara.

"There's a common misconception that police are dispatched from their local station, however, when units are dispatched they are more often than not already out in the community, meaning they're able to respond to emergencies faster."​

-Stuff.co.nz/Donna-Lee Biddle




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