SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Some 30 homes in a low-rise apartment complex in Amsterdam’s district of Nieuw-West were evacuated on Monday night after a failed attempt to blow up an ATM.
The explosives were found around 4am. ‘We were woken up by a loud banging … and told we had to leave as soon as possible,’ one woman told local broadcaster AT5. The explosives were placed next to the ATM outside a branch of the Albert Heijn supermarket chain and were removed by explosives experts.
Tram services to the Lambertus Zijlplein were also disrupted while the explosives were being made safe. Locals, who had been looked after in the local library, were allowed to return to their homes at around 8am.
In June several families had to be evacuated from their homes in Groningen after thieves tried to blow up an ATM in the wall of the block of flats where they lived. The public prosecution department said in April it is going to increase its sentencing demands for ram raiders and people who blow up ATMs.
The current guidelines sentence is 15 months in jail for both offences, but the risk to both people and property is considerable, hence the need for tougher sentences, the public prosecutor said.
In particular, thieves are using increasingly powerful explosives to blow up ATMs and this has increased the risk of buildings collapsing. (DutchNews)