Hamilton bomb plot: Seven pipe bombs in attack, suspects on the run

Author
Belinda Feek, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Aug 2020, 2:39PM
The remains of the ANZ ATM machine which was the target of a bombing early this morning. Photo / Nishant Taurian
The remains of the ANZ ATM machine which was the target of a bombing early this morning. Photo / Nishant Taurian

Hamilton bomb plot: Seven pipe bombs in attack, suspects on the run

Author
Belinda Feek, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 6 Aug 2020, 2:39PM

Two thieves who tried to blow up an ATM machine at a Hamilton shopping mall were armed with seven pipe bombs and were caught on camera, police say.

CCTV footage showed two suspects placing the bombs at the site, Hamilton City area commander Inspector Andrea McBeth told reporters this afternoon.

Police and a bomb disposal group were called in and roads around the Westfield Chartwell Shopping Centre were closed for several hours earlier today after police found several homemade explosive devices.

McBeth said a member of the public had reported what appeared to be pipe bombs.

Around 6.34am police were alerted by a member of the public, arriving minutes later and establishing a cordon, she said.

One of the pipe bombs had detonated, one had partly gone off and five others were recovered intact. Each pipe bomb was about 13cm in length.

There appeared to be no further risk to the public and it appeared to be a targeted attack on the ATM machine, she said.

The pipe bombs were "unsophisticated".

Two suspects had approached the ATM at about 2.30am this morning. After one pipe bomb detonated they had left when no cash was forthcoming, McBeth said.

"This is nothing more than an attack on an ATM machine."

McBeth said the thieves had demonstarted "incredibly dangerous behaviour".

Playing with explosives posed a risk to the individuals involved and to the public.

Police were not going to release a description of the two offenders at this stage, McBeth said.

"We are in the very early stages of our investigation."

Comries Rd resident Kevin Dornauf. Photo / Belinda Feek
Comries Rd resident Kevin Dornauf. Photo / Belinda Feek

"This appears to be a targeted attempt at damaging an ATM, located on the exterior wall of the shopping centre at its southern end," police said in a statement earlier today.

Photos of the partly damaged ATM show the bottom part of the machine blown apart and debris littering the ground below.

The rest of the money machine - including the screen, keypad and the green sleeve - remained intact.

The noise from the explosion woke and startled several residents of Comries Rd which is opposite the mall.

Yolanda Julius said she and her husband were woken by a deep, loud "boom" about 2.45am today.

She said the noise was more like a boom than a bang as it was quite a deep sounding explosion.

Julius said she looked at her husband and said "what was that".

"We got out of bed because we thought it was an accident and saw two guys running away in the car park."

Julius said the two people, who she believed were young men, appeared to be running away from the ANZ ATM and towards Hukanui Rd.

"It was really scary."

Fellow resident Kevin Dornauf described the noise as a "kaboomf".

"It went 'kaboomf' so I knew it was an explosion," he said.

He immediately checked his alarm clock which read 2.44am.

He got up and went outside and didn't see anyone but did see a slight haze in the covered car park but thought it could have been the slightly misty morning weather.

The bomb disposal unit has arrived at the scene. Photo / Belinda Feek
The bomb disposal unit has arrived at the scene. Photo / Belinda Feek