TBA-Advocated ATM Smash and Grab Legislation Filed

ATM Smash and GrabTBA’s ATM Crime Task Force recommended stiffer penalties to help deter the prolific increase of smash and grab incidents. Earlier this afternoon, Sen. Joan Huffman, Chair of the Senate Committees on Jurisprudence and Redistricting, filed SB 516, TBA-supported legislation that enhances the penalty for the impairment or interruption of access to an ATM.

Specifically, the bill amends Sec. 28.03, Penal Code (CRIMINAL MISCHIEF), to provide that an individual who causes the whole or partial impairment or interruption of access to an ATM regardless of the amount of loss commits criminal mischief and that offense is a third-degree felony. Sec. 12.34, Penal Code (THIRD DEGREE FELONY PUNISHMENT), provides that an individual found guilty of a third-degree felony can be fined up to $10,000 and imprisoned for not more than 10 years or less than 2 years.

Note in the picture at left that the machine was destroyed, but the cash canisters were left behind – it is situations like these and countless others that point to the need for Huffman’s legislation.

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal reported that attempts to break into ATMs more than doubled in the U.S. last year. In just over a year’s time, TBA members have reported hundreds of smash and grab incidents, and this crime does not show signs of slowing in 2021. We’ve had two reports of hook and chain attempts this week alone.

Michele Carfello, an integral part of TBA’s Member Relations Team, is keeping an ATM smash and grab heatmap.   

Today’s filing by Sen. Huffman, who also serves as Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice, is recognition that the State of Texas must take decisive action and provide local law enforcement and prosecutors with the tools they need to stem the tide of ATM smash and grabs—especially during the pandemic when lobby restrictions make ATM access critical for customers. Thank you, Chairman Huffman!