By Amy Kawata

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Police spent Thursday morning trying to ascertain who drove two different vans into a gas station and a discount store in a failed attempt to steal their ATMs.

Someone—possibly two different people or two different groups of people—used the two vans as battering rams. The first van attack occurred around 1:45 a.m. at the Family Dollar store in the 3400 block of Frederick Avenue, according to a Baltimore Police Department press statement. But police didn’t learn about the crash-and-dash crime until around 7:50 a.m.

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The second brazen attack occurred at a Carroll gas station in the 1900 block of W. Lafayette Avenue around 2:55 a.m., per the statement. Gas station employees hid in a back room and called 911, per the press statement.

A police spokesman told WJZ that officers recovered both vans. One van remained at the discount store while the other was recovered near the gas station, the spokesman said. WJZ also learned the white van used in the attempted ATM theft previously belonged to Fellowship Baptist Church in Barboursville, West Virginia. The church says the van was donated to a ministry in Baltimore a few years ago and it wasn’t stolen from their location.

Neither the gas station’s ATM nor the discount store’s ATM were stolen during the fruitless smash-and-grab feats, according to the press statement.

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The security guard at Family Dollar told WJZ this wasn’t the first time the store had been targeted for an ATM theft. Someone attempted to steal its ATM two weeks ago on the other side of the storefront, according to the security guard.

ATM thefts and attempted ATM thefts have occurred at various locations in the city and surrounding counties over the past several months, damaging dozens of buildings. City and county police have made at least three arrests related to the ATM theft trend.

County officers arrested Kirk Parker Jr., a 36-year-old Baltimore Department of Public Works employee, after he allegedly used a city-owned truck to try to steal money from an ATM in the Owings Mills area on Dec. 29. Someone had put tape over the city emblem and over the front license plate on the city’s 2019 Ford F550.

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In November, Baltimore Police arrested Said Hamza, 18, after he allegedly participated in a failed bash-and-bolt ATM theft at a convenience store on Orem Avenue. That same month, Anne Arundel County Police arrested Arteze Lang, 29, after he and other men allegedly drove into a Walgreens on Crain Highway in Glen Burnie.