Explosive gas attacks are on the increase in Europe. According to the European ATM Security Team explosive and gas attacks rose by 88% in 2010, when compared to 2009, increasing from 148 reported incidents in 2009 to 278 in 2010.
It is not all plain sailing for the criminals though: In a recent attack reported in Croatia thieves detonated gas from a cylinder in order to rob an ATM machine in the small locality of Mihovljani in Zagorje (north of Zagreb). The thieves blew up the ATM machine late in the evening of Wednesday 20th April after it had been filled with cash. The ATM was located in a retail store which was demolished in the incident.
One typical methodology is for the criminals to feed a small tube through the cash dispense shutter of an ATM and fill it with gas. They then move back to a safe distance and ignite the gas; after the explosion they move around the area picking up the banknotes that often fly around like confetti.
It seems that the hard part for the criminals is working out exactly how much gas to use to blow open the door of the cash safe without totally destroying, the ATM, most of the surrounding building, and either destroying the money or blowing it over too wide an area to make effective recovery possible within the available time frame. Collateral damage in some of these reported attacks is huge, and there are risks to any people in the immediate vicinity. Some of the more sophisticated criminals appear to have worked out ways to regulate the amount of gas to use, but there do seem to be a large number of opportunistic criminals still experimenting with this technique.