Thieves Smash Through Manteca Liquor Stores’ Front Doors in ATM Heists

 MANTECA -- Within the span of an hour Monday morning, at least three suspects tried to steal ATMs from two Manteca liquor stores.

Around 3 a.m., the suspects, a driver and two men in ski masks, backed a delivery van through the front doors of Tower Mart Liquors. Surveillance video from inside the store shows the two masked suspects pull a chain out of the back of the white Ford van.

One of them is wearing a sweatshirt that has the words "Ride Now" in large white letters. While he tries to attach a chain to the ATM, the other masked man jumps behind the counter to take some items. As the van drives away from the West Louise Avenue location, the chain breaks free from the ATM, leaving the machine behind.

About 30 minutes later, surveillance video shows what appears to be the same crew casing Manteca Mart Liquor on East Yosemite Avenue.

There they use some kind of pole to break the glass on the front door and then they kick loose one of the horizontal bars and squeeze through. They were able to get the ATM loose then the video shows them dragging it to the door and pushing it out to their vehicle.

FOX40 spoke with Sam Singh, the owner of Manteca Mart Liquors. After watching the whole video, he noticed cars driving on the street nearby and said it hurts to think there may have been witnesses who didn't call the police.

"It makes you wonder, you know, if you're a normal individual and you're seeing a van parked backwards and two guys looking into a liquor store at 3:30 in the morning what they're doing there," Singh said.

The store is alarmed and an officer does appear in the video about five minutes after the thieves drive off. Once backup arrives, two officers are seen going inside.

Singh said he worked with his ATM company to find out how much money was lost. He encourages all merchants to secure their ATMs away from the front door.

Singh believes the key to solving this case could be the white Ford delivery van. The license plate appears to be removed. The van would have been seen driving in the Manteca area Monday before sunrise.

"It's not a normal looking van," Singh said. "So hopefully they can try to find that vehicle."

Manteca police confirm they have the videos from both markets and are investigating.

The stores are back open but still have considerable damage to repair. Customers have been shocked by the brazen nature of the break-ins, especially considering how visible the security cameras are at the markets.