Three men arrested for stealing thousands of dollars by hacking into ATMs with a Raspberry Pi device

Last month, three men in Lubbock, Texas, were arrested after police were “made aware of a group committing thefts from ATMs in the West Texas region.” Like proper hackers, they didn't break into the ATMs using a blowtorch and crowbar but with a Raspberry Pi. 

EverythingLubbock (via Tom's Hardware) reports that the thieves could turn off the ATM's security system with a Raspberry Pi device (by plugging it into the machine), which gave them access to the cash drawer without raising alarm bells. 

The three men were spotted by witnesses stealing $5,700 from at least one ATM before being arrested. This apparently wasn't their first job: The Texas Financial Crime Taskforce says the trio "stole large sums of US currency in the West Texas region" but did not specify how much was stolen or how many ATMs were hit during their spree. Police found two Raspberry Pi devices in the suspects' hotel room.

The report doesn't explain how exactly the Raspberry Pi device was used to hack into the ATMs, but a part of me wants to believe it went down exactly like the "Easy Money" scene in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, where John Connor, the future savior of humanity, rips off a money machine by plugging a device into the card reader, tricking it into spitting out cash.

Each suspect in this real-world case was charged with Unlawful Interception, Use, or Disclosure of Wire, Oral, or Electronic Communications, along with one of the men receiving a Forgery charge. 

We all know the fun DIY projects you can do with Raspberry Pi, like a cat doorbell or game emulation, but as a skeleton key for ATMs? That's impressive. Oh, I'm not condoning using a Raspberry Pi for committed felonies. I'm just saying it's neat.  


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Jorge Jimenez
Hardware writer, Human Pop-Tart

Jorge is a hardware writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, he's reviewing all sorts of gaming hardware, from laptops with the latest mobile GPUs to gaming chairs with built-in back massagers. He's been covering games and tech for over ten years and has written for Dualshockers, WCCFtech, Tom's Guide, and a bunch of other places on the world wide web.