Officers were called to the bank at 1:00 am on Thursday, according to Lt. Todd Bernard of the South Portland Police Department.
“We got a call that he was sleeping in the [ATM] vestibule, and we had to move him along,” Bernard said. “Then at around 5:30 am, we got another call that he was back there and taking an unusually long time at the ATM by a woman who was trying to use it. She thought it seemed suspicious.”
The second time police arrived at the branch they found the man filling a shopping bag with cash. Officers said he had more than $37,000 in cash in that bag.
Bernard said the man, who will not be identified unless charges are filed against him, had an ATM card and about $100 in his account. But he was using the “cash advance” feature on the machine and repeatedly requesting $700.
The ATM obliged the man approximately 53 times before police stopped him. Bernard said the cash advance option on an ATM is for people who have a pre-approved line of credit, which the homeless man did not have. However, a “code error” allowed the transactions to proceed, according to a bank official.
Police officers returned the money to the bank.
“It is illegal. He is taking money that doesn’t belong to him, and the bank at this point has elected not to prosecute, although the case is still under investigation,” Bernard said. “That ATM has been taken out of service and is being checked out to determine why it malfunctioned.”
The man was removed from the scene, and Barnard said the man has been in South Portland “for some time now,” even though he carries a Utah ID.
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