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La Pine thief swipes forklift, tries to steal bank ATM

Suspects escape; Crime Stoppers reward offered

La Pine forklift thief tries to take ATM

La PINE, Ore. - (Update: Sheriff's office details Crime Stoppers reward)

Deschutes County sheriff's deputies are looking for whoever stole a forklift from a La Pine building supply business early Sunday morning and drove it to a nearby bank, where they trashed a parking-lot ATM in an attempt to remove it or get to the cash inside.

Deputies responded shortly before 1 p.m. to an alarm at Washington Federal Bank on Huntington Road, said Lt. Mike Biondi. They arrived to find a drive-up ATM had been struck and dislodged from its drive-thru location, he said, adding that the ATM was still intact and no money was removed.

Deputies found a Hyster forklift parked in an alley south of the bank, Biondi said.

They determined the forklift had been stolen from the nearby La Pine ace Hardware Building Supply yard, also on Huntington Road, and driven through a six-foot-tall chain-link fence.

It was then driven about two blocks south to the bank, where it was used to dislodge the ATM.

It was evident to residents on Saturday from the damage done, wrapped by crime-scene tape, that the culprit or culprits tried mightily to take the ATM or break into it for the cash. They reportedly fled when an alarm went off.

A responding sheriff's deputy apparently heard an engine running nearby and found the still-running, abandoned forklift behind Tom's Garage on Third Street.

Biondi asked anyone with information to contact deputies through dispatch at 541-693-6911.

You can also call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 1-877=876-TIPS. You can remain anonymous, and tips that lead to an identification and arrest could be eligible for a cash reward.


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