Since the beginning of 2022, criminals have blown up about 450 ATMs across Germany to steal cash, the Welt am Sonntag newspaper reported with reference to the participants of the German Interior Ministers Conference (IMK) held in Munich. The number of bombings was the highest in all the years of such crimes: a year before in Germany 381 ATMs were blown up and in 2020 - 414 terminals.
Conference participants stressed the danger of this method of theft to others, since the devices are often installed in thoroughfares and residential buildings. According to Oliver Huth, chairman of the state branch of the German Criminal Police Association (BDK) in North Rhine-Westphalia, pedestrians have been injured in explosions and in some cases their homes near ATMs have become unsuitable due to the consequences of detonations.
At the end of October the European Union Police (Europol) reported about increasing cases of blasts on terminals. According to the agency, the trend is noticeable at least in Germany, Southern Europe and the Baltic States, but its spread may be wider, since not all countries report such incidents to the international police.
As Europol points out, such crimes are organized by criminal gangs that train people to work with explosives, who then carry out a series of attacks on ATMs by traveling in cars. For example, in 2021, one such training center was discovered in Utrecht, the Netherlands. According to the law enforcers, the criminals trained in one such establishment may act in several neighboring countries at once.
The international character of the crimes is also indicated by the data of the German police - for several years already it has been noted that the majority of the suspects of similar crimes in Germany enter the country from the Netherlands.
According to Boris Pistorius, Minister of the Interior of Lower Saxony, the reason for this is that German ATMs are not sufficiently protected against such hacking methods. In contrast to Germany, the Netherlands uses a technology in which, when the terminal is damaged, the banknotes are covered with an adhesive substance and become unusable. In France the sticky substance in the devices is replaced by ink. The official proposed to legally oblige German banks to use such means against ATM break-ins, writes "Deutsche Welle".