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So Much for ATM Safety Lectures

By Shannon in News on May 5, 2007 9:00PM

ATMHumor us. Let's say - and this is purely hypothetical - that you were on the wrong side of the law. What lengths would you go to to relieve your targets of their hard-earned money? You could take the impersonal approach with a bank robbery or armored truck jacking. Or you could go hands-on, forcefully coercing individuals to give up whatever cash is on their person or in their back account. Now supposed you were a cop on the wrong side of the thin blue line. All that absolute power at your disposal. The city's your playground. What would you do?

Unless you're a huge fan of unnecessarily complicated plot devices, we doubt you'd do what one recently canned Chicago police officer did. He and three offenders, 46-year-old Austin Clark, 31-year-old Kareem Burnett, and 38-year-old Bobby Archer, devised a laborious scam: the unnamed officer would go out to a bar downtown and chat up a random guy, recruiting him to hang out together for the night. At some point the victim, who was usually intoxicated, would use an ATM. Unbeknownst to him, one of the cop's cronies would be behind him, getting his PIN while he's at the machine. Later on in the night, another crony would get his hands on the victim's credit card, usually through pickpocketry. Then the first crony could relate the PIN to the second, eventually netting thousands. Phew. We don't know about you, but we need a breather after that explanation.

Police arrested Clark on April 28 after noting suspicious activity at an Uptown Jewel. Apparently Clark was using one of the stolen cards to purchase small items and get cash back each time. Clark then got into the cop's off-duty vehicle with the cop driving, but was arrested before the two could disappear. The cop was not charged due to lack of evidence, but the force relieved him of his badge and gun nonetheless. Chicagoist shakes our head in sadness over this situation. Now he'll never get to run drugs and take bribes like a regular crooked cop.