ATM team will probe cash-machine heists
Following a rash of thefts from bank automated teller machines, the Honolulu Police Department recently organized a task force to find the suspects and investigate additional ATM thefts.
The task force falls under the department's new Strategic Enforcement Division, formed at the beginning of this month to combat new criminal trends and organizations.
The ATM task force is made up of three veteran detectives, two police officers and several members of the department's Crime Reduction Units across Oahu, said Capt. Richard Robinson, who oversees violent-crime investigations.
"We have a team of detectives chosen for their variety of skills," Robinson said. "One has experience in financial fraud investigations, another in violent crimes. They would have a broad range of knowledge."
Ju Young Woo, 33, one of three suspected robbers of an Aiea billiards room, was arrested earlier this month and charged with first-degree robbery.
On April 3, Woo and two others allegedly went to Aiea Cue and took money from an ATM while ordering employees and patrons to the ground.
Two ATM break-ins occurred in the early morning hours of April 3 at the Waipio Shopping Center and Aiea Shopping Center. An earlier break-in took place April 1 at the Pearl City Business Plaza.
The investigation into the ATM break-ins involved Crime Reduction Unit teams from three different districts. The task force works as a centralized unit to respond to further ATM thefts.
"All the other cases fell within districts," Robinson said. "But we're now much more flexible in a response. With the task force, we have one team that can go out and help any district."