Karnes County officials seek masked man accused of attempting to use explosives on ATM

FBI, ATF also investigating

FALLS CITY, Texas – Karnes County Sheriff’s Office investigators need the public’s help to identify a masked man, who they said tried to use explosives to break into an ATM at Falls City National Bank.

The bank’s cameras show the man walking up to the ATM and taping a device to it around 4 a.m. Monday.

“It’s a 7-inch long plastic filled with Tannerite, some kind of explosive powder, and it was wrapped around the bottoms of the ATM,” Karnes County Sheriff Dwayne Villanueva said.

The man hid from vehicles passing by before disappearing into darkness across the street, where investigators said he set up an automatic rifle-type weapon and opened fire. 

“They used a rifle and shot approximately 26 times. You can see the bullet holes,” on the ATM, he said.

But the man missed. His intent was to ignite the exploding target with a bullet.

“I don’t think it would have worked, but it would have had a lot of damage to the ATM and the drive-thru location at the bank,” Villanueva said.

About 20 minutes after the failed attempt, a deputy drove past the ATM but did not see the device still taped to the machines. Hours later, and after several customers also stopped by the machine, a worker discovered the explosive. 

“They were lucky that didn’t go off because if it would have gone off, they would have been seriously injured,” he said.

Villanueva said this is the first time an explosive has been used in this type of crime. The exploding target powder can be purchased easily online and even at some local stores, he said.

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating and are looking for clues in the evidence discovered. Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 830-780-4636. Tipsters may be eligible for a reward.

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