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Narrow doorway thwarts St. E’s ATM theft



Published: Wed, July 18, 2007 @ 12:00 a.m.

One hospital officer suffered minor injuries trying to stop the suspects.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN — They brought a dolly to haul their target away, but authorities said the men who tried to steal an automated teller machine from the lobby of St. Elizabeth Health Center made one mistake — they couldn’t get it through the doorway.

Humility of Mary Health Partners police said two men entered the lobby at about 7:30 p.m. Monday and were able to disconnect the machine, put it on a dolly and get it as far as the revolving doors at the Belmont Avenue entrance before they got stuck. The machine was too wide to fit through the doorway, a hospital spokesman said.

The machine is 18 inches wide, 40 inches deep and about 5 and one-half feet tall. It has since been removed from the lobby and is now part of the chain of evidence in the crime.

Moving the machine triggered an alarm which brought an HMHP security officer to the lobby. When the would-be thieves saw him, they ran out the door with the officer in pursuit, the spokesman said.

The pursuit

City police said two other HMHP officers were on routine patrol in a cruiser when they noticed a light blue van parked near the main hospital entrance with its back doors standing open and a man standing near the vehicle.

They saw the two men run out the front door followed by the officer, who yelled that they had tried to take the ATM.

All three men jumped into the van and the officer did, too. However, as it began to move, he was thrown out, suffering some minor injuries, the hospital spokesman said.

Rammed and rammed again

The two officers in the cruiser tried to block the van’s exit but it rammed their car and fled onto Belmont Avenue, city police said. They followed it from the hospital to Wick Avenue and the access road to the Madison Avenue Expressway. There the van rammed the St. Elizabeth’s cruiser again causing the officers to break off the pursuit, police said.

The van then entered the expressway and fled in an unknown direction, police said.

The cruiser suffered extensive front end damage, police said.

gwin@vindy.com


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