CBS2’s Kevin Rincon saw part of the aftermath. Officers were trying to rush to the scene in Bay Terrace when a cruiser slammed into a tree. As for how it happened, investigators were still trying to piece that together.
Crime tape was up around a Santander Bank on Nelson Avenue and Amboy Road. Police were called there after reports of an ATM robbery.
Police say the suspects were stealing money out of an ATM, using pre-loaded debit cards to take out more than the allotted amount, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reports.
“They got into an altercation, I believe, with each other over the money and they ran outside and got into a shootout with each other,” one witness said.
At least one of those shots pierced the window of a deli across the street, leaving shattered glass along the sidewalk.
Down the road, two police officers trying to get to the scene crashed into the tree. The NYPD said they suffered minor leg injuries and were being treated at a nearby hospital.
Chopper 2 was over the scene, as one of the officers could be seen taken away on a stretcher.
“It’s a shame that cops have to go after these criminals and they get hurt like this,” St. George resident Greg Williams said.
Watch Kevin Rincon’s report —
But it didn’t end there.
Officers showed up at another Santander Bank, at Hyland and Ebbitts, approximately three miles away.
“What’s been going on with the economy, these people are desperate,” Toni Priolo added.
“It was kind of crazy. I got off the bus and there was helicopters, there was a ton of cops,” said Tracy Guido, of Staten Island. “Honestly, crazy. I’ve never seen anything like this on Staten Island.”
What’s more, Rincon learned the Staten Island banks weren’t the only Santander banks that have been hit. Police throughout the Tri-State Area have responded to more than a dozen recent ATM robberies.
Chopper 2 flew over a branch in Springfield, New Jersey, where cops were still on the scene. Another ATM in Hoboken, New Jersey, was still out of service after being targeted by scammers. New Jersey State Police said the FBI’s Newark office is looking into any possible connection.
In Connecticut, South Windsor police said a branch there was hit by scammers using fake debit cards.
Santander released the following statement:
“Santander Bank learned of suspicious activity involving some of our branch-based ATMs. Out of an abundance of caution, we have temporarily closed these ATMs and they will be back on-line as soon as possible. Additionally, some branches may have an additional security presence and/or be temporarily closed for security reasons.
“We are continuing to cooperate with law enforcement as they investigate this situation and apologize for any customer inconvenience. As we work to expeditiously resolve this situation, our customers should know that there is no impact to their accounts or funds, which can be accessed online, using our digital app, in our branches or at non-branch ATMs.”
At least one suspect was taken into custody in the woods of Great Kills Park.
The FBI Newark office is leading the investigation. They’re being very tight-lipped about what happened.
NYPD sources tell us it was only Santander Banks that were affected by the scam and that the ATM issue has been resolved.
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