Deputies: Man caught using forklift to steal ATM from Harris County bank


by staff

Posted on October 2, 2011 at 12:41 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 3 at 8:04 AM

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Authorities arrested a man accused of using a forklift to steal an ATM from a bank in northwest Harris County.

A witness spotted a masked suspect using the forklift to pry the ATM out of the ground at a Bank of America in the 18500 block of Champion Forest around 4:20 a.m.

The suspect, later identified as 40-year-old Wilson Orphey, then loaded the ATM into the back of a U-Haul, deputies said.

Authorities arrived as Orphey drove the truck away with the ATM sitting in the back. He began heading eastbound on Spring Cypress when the truck lost control and rolled into a ditch.

“The issue forcing the truck to leave the roadway is the ATM is quite heavy,” said Lt. Mike Combest with Harris County Constable Precinct 4. “If you see the truck you can see what kind of load it puts on the U-Haul itself.”

Orphey got out of the truck and tried to flee, but was quickly apprehended.

He was later charged with felony theft and criminal mischief.

Combest said the crime was quite unusual.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of this nature using a forklift like that. It’s quite creative but I guess he didn’t figure on somebody spotting him,” Combest said.

Authorities later discovered that the recovered ATM was packed with $300,000 worth of cash and deposits.