Cops nab suspect in alleged ATM tampering

Police have arrestesd a suspect who alegedly stole thousands of dollars from hundreds of San Franciscans using nothing but a piece of paper and a length of wire.

Bradley Taggart, 43, was apprehended on May 18 after police saw him try to remove money from an automated teller machine with which he had allegedly tampered, Inspector Jim Kelly said Wednesday.

A crook using a cigar-shaped piece of rolled-up paper was plugging the slot of an ATM from which money is dispensed at the Wash Club Laundromat on Frederick and Stanyan streets, according to Officer Greg Kane, of the Park district police station.

When customers tried to use the plugged-up ATM, money would become stuck behind the rolled paper and they would leave frustrated and empty-handed. The thief would return, remove the paper and use a wire device to pull out the stuck cash.

“We’d been having an ongoing problem for maybe a month or more,” said Paul Bang, owner of the Wash Club. “The last time he blew it because he did it at a time the store was open.”

Police responded to the latest ATM malfunction report on May 18, in which a woman withdrew $60 that never materialized.

Officers came to the store to watch surveillance tapes, but, “[The owner] turns the camera back live, they see [Taggart] on the live camera out there working on the machine,” San Francisco police Sgt. Darby Reid said.

Police booked Taggart on charges of attempted burglary, possession of burglary tools and possession of drug paraphernalia, Kelly said. The case was not prosecuted, Kelly said, because Taggart was not actually stealing when police caught him.

“He had a racket. God knows how many ATMs he’s been doing. He could be doing this all over the city. I know we weren’t the only one to have this problem,” Bang said.

The burglaries weren’t the first instance of ATM tampering San Francisco police have encountered.

In January 2006, police issued a fraud warning to users of ATMs citywide. Someone had attached a device to the card slot of an ATM on Market Street that recorded the information embedded in cards’ magnetic strips, as well as their personal identification numbers, which the crooks would use to drain victims’ accounts.

amartin@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Lowell High School is considered an academically elite public school. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students denounce ‘rampant, unchecked racism’ at Lowell after slurs flood anti-racism lesson

A lesson on anti-racism at Lowell High School on Wednesday was bombarded… Continue reading

Scooter companies have expanded their distribution in neighborhoods such as the Richmond and Sunset districts. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board signs off on changes to scooter permit program

Companies will gete longer permits, but higher stakes

A health care worker receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. (Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
City sets ambitious goal to vaccinate residents by June

Limited supply slows distribution of doses as health officials seek to expand access

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden and Jill Biden arrive at Biden's inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021, in Washington, DC.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)
Joe Biden issues call for ‘unity’ amidst extreme partisan rancor

‘I will be a president for all Americans,’ he says in inauguration speech

MARIETTA, GA - NOVEMBER 15: Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Jon Ossoff (R) and Raphael Warnock (L) of Georgia taps elbows during a rally for supporters on November 15, 2020 in Marietta, Georgia. Both become senators Wednesday.  (Jenny Jarvie/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Vice President Harris swears in senators Padilla, Warnock, Ossoff

New Democratic senators tip balance of power in upper legislative house

Most Read