Thieves use jackfruit sap to steal from ATMs

This article is more than 12 months old

Who would have thought that automated teller machines​ (ATMs), with all their high-tech security measures, could be defeated by tree sap?

Philippine thieves have been using the sticky plant fluid to steal from cash dispenser machines in banks, police said on Tuesday.

The thieves would insert a metal bar coated with jackfruit sap into the card slot of​ ATMs, said a suburban Manila police spokesman Inspector Edwin Malabanan.

Bills would stick onto the bar inside the machine whenever someone tried to make a cash withdrawal.

The thieves would retrieve the money after the disappointed customer had left.

Mr Malabanan told AFP: "The sap is really sticky. It was really clever of them to think of it."

Tampering of electronic devices

Police began to investigate the incidents after customers of several banks complained of losses.

One of two thieves was arrested last week thanks to closed-circuit television footage of a bank ATM, he said.

Police are not sure how many other thieves are using this method, said the inspector.

The authorities initially charged the suspect under a law punishing tampering of electronic devices for theft, but the case was thrown out since he had used a non-electronic tool.

The suspect will now be charged with simple theft which carries a lesser penalty of up to six years in prison instead of up to 20 years in jail under the electronic devices law.

Source: AFP