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Vandals caught on camera spray-painting ATMs in Hillsborough Co. could be linked to ATM explosions, deputies say

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Deputies are working to determine whether or not incidents of criminal mischief at Hillsborough County ATMs could be connected to recent ATM explosions in the Tampa Bay area.

There have been three explosions at ATMs in Tampa Bay within the past few months. The first happened at a BB&T bank in Oldsmar on Nov. 4. The second happened at a Pilot Bank in Tampa on Dec. 22. The most recent happened either late on Saturday, Jan. 11 or early Sunday, Jan. 12 at a Regions Bank in Valrico.

According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, someone spray-painted the lenses of surveillance cameras in the area shortly before the recent explosion in Valrico. Deputies say surveillance cameras were also spray-painted at the Pilot Bank in Tampa before that explosion in December.

“I think when you’re setting off some type of bomb device, that’s an extremely brazen individual,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said Monday.

Sheriff Chronister now says deputies are looking into whether those three explosions could be related to acts of criminal mischief at ATMs throughout the county.

Chronister says his office is aware of at least three other incidents of camera lenses being spray-painted at banks in the area over the past six months.

The Regions Bank where the explosion happened this past weekend was previously targeted on July 7, 2019, and again on Sept. 5, 2019, the sheriff says. He released photos of the July incident showing two people near the ATM, but says the two did not get access to the inside of the ATM in those instances.

The sheriff’s office says both of the vandals are men of unknown races. Both were wearing masks at the time. One of the men was seen wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt, black pants and black gloves.

Sheriff Chronister says deputies are also investigating a similar incident at the J.P. Morgan Chase Bank on Countryway Boulevard. The sheriff says a man spray-painted the camera lens and tampered with the drive-thru ATM at that bank on Dec. 8 around 2:45 a.m.

A photo of the man, who was not able to get inside the ATM, was released by the sheriff’s office on Monday.

Anyone with information on the recent criminal mischief cases or explosions at ATMs is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (813) 247-8200.

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