Explosive ATM robberies on the rise in Germany

Despite numerous Europol operations to arrest gang members behind explosive attacks on ATMs in Germany, over 800 robberies have taken place in the last two years. The German Insurance Association expects this trend to continue this year.

Three bomb robbers recently arrested in the Netherlands

On May 19, Dutch police announced the arrest of three members of a gang responsible for a series of explosive attacks on ATMs, which earned them almost a million euros.

The robbers usually used stolen vehicles and blew up the ATM in the middle of the night to pocket the money. Europol states that eight of their attacks on ATMs in October and November 2021 netted them 958,000 euros.

Robberies have become increasingly common in Germany in recent years. By the end of 2021, police had even dismantled a gang of robbers who were offering video tutorials on how to blow up ATMs. Gang members ordered models of ATMs and, for each one, recorded tutorials on the most effective way to blow them up. A failed trial in Utrecht, Netherlands, led to the arrest of nine people, suspected of carrying out some 15 ATM attacks in Germany to the tune of 2.15 million euros.

A phenomenon of alarming proportions

Between 2020 and 2021, more than 800 robberies have been recorded in Germany. Faced with this growing phenomenon, police authorities, the association of banking federations and insurers have come together at a round table to join forces.

The use of solid explosives "endangers the lives and physical integrity of innocent people ", notes the association of banking federations. For its part, Europol is also concerned about growing gang violence.

In an interview with the DPA news agency, Europol spokeswoman Claire Georges pointed out that " extremely heavy explosives are increasingly being used, even causing buildings to collapse and killing innocent people ".



To limit the number of explosive ATM robberies, banks have introduced a number of measures. One of these is to install fog systems in branches, or to color banknotes to make them unusable. This method has proved its worth in France, where the number of attacks has fallen from 300 to 50 in just 5 years. Another solution may be to close ATM access at night for sites presenting " a particularly high potential risk ", notes Europol.

Since the introduction of this measure in the Netherlands, robberies have declined, but have shifted to neighboring regions in Germany.