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Surveillance video shows the suspect dressed in dark clothing, his face partially covered by a paintball mask. He appears to be prepared to do some heavy lifting at the Circle K store in Placentia as he wheels in a dolly.
"You see him step menacingly near the clerk, poking his finger at him and walking toward him as if to tell him to get back and to stay back," said Placentia Police Detective Corinne Loomis.
The suspect takes the dolly out of view of the camera. About two minutes later, he heads for the front door hauling an entire ATM, all 200-300 pounds of it.
"I'm shocked and I know very well who was working at that time, and I feel bad how he was so scared," said Young Le, who works next door to the store. "Wow, it's a shock."
The clerk was not injured. Police call the act brazen. The theft took place around 4 in the morning on a weekday along Orangethorpe Avenue, a major street in Placentia, at a time when people could be getting gas outside the store.
"Wow, how crazy is that? To have the nerve, to have the guts to do that -- times are tough, but is that an excuse? I know it's not, but it's just crazy. It's sad to see people go to that extreme," said customer Lisa Bui.
Police describe the suspect as a white male with a large build, 6' 4" to 6' 6" in height, with blue eyes. His getaway vehicle is unknown. It appears he parked it out of view of the cameras outside the store.
"If someone sees somebody with an ATM in their garage or sees it discarded in neighborhood, we certainly would like the public's help in identifying and retrieving it," said Loomis.
Police don't know if the suspect acted alone or if someone helped him lift the ATM into a getaway vehicle.
If you know who the suspect may be, call the Placentia Police Dept. at (714) 993-8194.