Crime & Courts

ATM stolen from restaurant turns up in Westchester Lagoon

A battered cash machine found Tuesday on the bank of Westchester Lagoon had been stolen the night before from Don Jose's Mexican Restaurant, police said.

The ATM, found partially in the water near the parking lot at the eastern part of the lagoon, had been pried open.

An unknown suspect or suspects pried open the door to Don Jose's — on East Northern Lights Boulevard near Lake Otis Parkway — and stole the ATM, said Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman Renee Oistad in an email. Police were notified of the burglary at 9:21 a.m., she said.

Gabriel Munos, general manager at Don Jose's, said the restaurant's door was jammed in the morning because of how it had been opened.

Someone called police at 8:39 a.m. to report seeing the ATM in the lagoon, Oistad said. No money was recovered, she said.

The restaurant has the ATM back now but Munos said it's not usable.

"They tore it up," he said. "It's done. It's trash. … Somehow, somewhere, they pried it open and took the money."

There was probably $400 to $500 in the machine, which the restaurant owns, Munos said. He also found a crowbar in the restaurant and another in the parking lot.

He said nothing else in the restaurant was damaged besides the door. The restaurant opened as usual, he said.

Annie Zak

Annie Zak was a business reporter for the ADN between 2015 and 2019.