Burglars are using stolen vehicles to barge through storefronts and loot ATMs, guns and other valuables inside. Known as “ram raiding,” the tactic is creating headaches for retailers, who have already been under siege from organized retail-theft rings in many parts of the U.S. The battering rams of choice often are stolen Hyundais and Kias, said officials of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, reports the Wall Street Journal. Those cars have become targets of criminals nationwide because they lack certain antitheft technology and are relatively easy to steal. The attacks have been concentrated on the West Coast. In an unusually brazen attack in Oakland, Calif., thieves used a backhoe to crash into an a convenience store and yank out the ATM with chains on Nov. 6. Police are looking for suspects.
At the Beauty Supply Warehouse across the street, supervisor Luis Montoya said he has been hit with seven attempted drive-through burglaries in two months despite being encircled with steel posts and having four metal security doors. Burglars haven’t managed to break in yet, but doors have been damaged by efforts to yank them open with chains. The store has removed an ATM from its premises. Statistics aren’t compiled for ram-raiding cases, but law-enforcement officials say they have seen a sharp uptick since the Covid-19 pandemic amid an overall rise in property crime. “This is something ATF is watching nationwide,” said John Ham, an ATF spokesman in Kansas City. “It’s in the news more because it’s happening more.” Nonresidential burglaries rose 11.7% between 2019 and 2022, while motor-vehicle thefts soared 67.5% over that time, found an analysis of federal crime data in major cities by the think tank Council on Criminal Justice.