Bank machine thefts in Rome

New outbreak of "cash trapping" in Rome

Police in Rome have arrested a gang for stealing money on over 30 occasions from bank machines around the capital, using a system known as "cash trapping."

The six criminals were arrested on charges of aggravated theft after an investigation by police from stations at Monteverde and Trastevere. The arrests come a year after criminals were caught stealing money from bank machines in the Porta Portese and Corso di Francia districts.

The cash trapping method involves inserting a metal fork into the banknote dispenser, in a manner invisible to the naked eye. The procedure of withdrawing money functions as normal until the appearance of the words "operation complete/amount paid".

After that however, the notes are not forthcoming. At this point the customer usually blames the malfunction on a technical failure, and leaves the scene, allowing the observing thieves to retrieve the metal device and with it all the banknotes trapped inside.

Police have advised that if users of bank machines in Rome do not receive their requested notes when the bank machine says it has paid the money, they should not leave the ATM but call the emergency police number 112 instead.