A man died while trying to blow up an ATM in North Philadelphia early Tuesday as thieves blew up or stole cash machines across the city overnight in what authorities believe was an “organized" and “coordinated" effort, police said.
The 24-year-old, whose name has not been released, suffered trauma to his upper body after placing an explosive in a sidewalk-facing ATM outside a sports bar along North 2nd Street near Susquehanna Avenue around 6:15 a.m., Philadelphia police said.
Medics rushed the man to a nearby hospital where he died a couple hours later.
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Police found live explosives at the scene and focused their investigation on the blasted ATM, debris on the street and on a vehicle parked nearby.
Nearby residents and those living in neighborhoods across the city heard blasts as looting in the wake of George Floyd protests continued for a fourth day.
At least 10 machines were vandalized – mainly at neighborhood convenience stores, on sidewalks and gas stations, police said. In most cases, police said, thieves set off explosive devices, blowing up the machines before making off with the cash. In other cases, they would just steal the machines.
An ATM at the Sunoco gas station on North Broad Street at Hunting Park Avenue was damaged and broken into. An ATM was also damaged at the Woodland Village Plaza in Southwest Philadelphia.
Late Tuesday night, outside Blue Jay Restaurant and 29th Street and Girard Avenue in Brewerytown, an ATM that was already damaged by a blast on Monday, exploded again. The owners told NBC10 the thieves were unable to get the money after the first explosion but were able to grab cash after the second.
A short time later, the ATM outside iMunch Cafe about two blocks away on the 1200 block of North 31st Street exploded as well.
Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the thefts are believed to be “organized" and “coordinated" efforts and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is taking the lead in the investigation. No arrests about the ATM thefts have been announced.