Organized criminal gangs active in the Netherlands and France, mostly made up of Moroccan migrants, are blowing up ATMs in Germany at a record pace in highly professional robbery operations. In 2022, government statistics indicate that they blew up 500 such machines, with statistically more than one machine being blown up every day.
Cash remains popular with Germans, and to feed this demand, banks operate nearly 100,000 ATMs located throughout the country, with the machines routinely containing between €50,000 and €100,000. Criminal gangs are taking advantage of this, and they are willing to use extreme methods to gain access to this money. These criminal networks are said to meticulously plan their operations out, including initial surveillance, demolition, and the getaway. Police also say they act with brutality and ruthlessness, putting human lives at risk.
In fact, these migrant gangs are blowing up banks with such powerful explosives, that they are destroying entire buildings. In some cases, they have blown bank vault doors up to 30 meters away, underlining how powerful these blasts can be. Police say the danger facing Germans is unprecedented, as many of these banks are located in residential buildings.
Record number of cases
Although the final number of such bank heists has not yet been released for 2022, according to police sources obtained by Welt Am Sonntag, there were 500 such attacks, reaching a record high. Germany’s interior ministry is now holding high-level meetings on the issue, but it appears the robbery crews show little sign of slowing down. In 2021, the Federal Criminal Police reported that there were 414 cases of attempted or successful demolitions, while 2020 saw similar numbers.
Authorities describe how the gangs are most active in the west of Germany, with the most populous state, North-Rhine Westphalia, along with Lower Saxony, the most popular targets. For one, these regions are the closest states to the Netherlands, where the gangs are most active — although some gangs also operate out of France, which is also nearby.