Four would-be thieves tried to steal an ATM from a Valley Center gas station early Thursday, but when deputies arrived, they ditched the ATM and escaped, an official said.

An employee at a Chevron on Valley Center Road north of Woods Valley Road reported the attempted robbery about 3:40 a.m., saying a dark-colored pickup had smashed into the gas station’s convenience store and four people were trying to steal the ATM.

The group was able to haul the machine from the store, although it was unclear how, sheriff’s Lt. David Ladieu said. The group drove away a short distance, then tried to break into the ATM.

That’s when deputies arrived, prompting the group to ditch the ATM and take off in the pickup, Ladieu said. Deputies gave chase, but the group escaped after a short pursuit.


Ladieu said the group left empty handed, and deputies recovered the ATM. No further information was immediately available.

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