Guards Nabbed After Major ATM Heist in Siem Reap City

Police in Siem Reap City on Monday arrested four security guards employed at Lucky Mall after thieves armed with a blowtorch broke into the shopping center at night and forced open two ATMs before making off with tens of thousands of dollars in cash, police said.

The heist was carried out at about 1 a.m. Monday when the security guards were supposed to be patrolling the mall in Svay Dangkhum commune, according to deputy provincial police chief Thorng Sokun. He said it would have been impossible for the security guards on duty at the time of the robbery to be uninvolved, as the thieves had to gain entry through a locked interior door.

The thieves “came from the upstairs and used a broom to turn away the [security] cameras, and after that they went to the ATM machines,” Mr. Sokun said, adding that the ATMs were situated side-by-side on the second floor, one owned by ANZ Royal, the other by Canadia Bank.

“The Canadia machine had more than $60,000 inside and about 9 million riel [about $2,250]. I am not sure about the ANZ machine,” he said.

“They used hydrogen to burn through the safe box inside and collected all of the money that was in the ATM machines,” he said.

Some torches used for industrial cutting and welding burn a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen.

According to Mr. Sokun, police were informed about the robbery by a Lucky Mall employee who opened the shopping center shortly before 7 a.m. Officers then arrested two security guards who had been on duty since 7 p.m. and were about to clock out, he said.

Police returned to the mall in the afternoon and arrested two more security guards who had been on duty during the heist, he added.

“When we questioned them, they said they had been asleep and didn’t know anything had happened, but it would have been very easy for them to let the thieves in,” Mr. Sokun said.

“There are more suspects involved,” he said. “We are investigating now to arrest them.”

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