ATM: $37,000 dispensed to homeless man

ATM $37,000: A homeless man in Maine used the cash advance feature on a bank ATM to give him $700, and he did it 53 times. He filed a bag with $37,000.

A malfunctioning automated bank machine has dispensed $37,000 in cash to a man who requested $140.

Police in Maine say they responded to the TD Bank branch Thursday morning after getting a call from a woman who said a man was spending an unusual amount of time at the ATM she was waiting to use. Officers found the man stuffing cash into a shopping bag.

Lt. Todd Bernard of the South Portland Police Department told the Bangor Daily News that the man, who will not be identified unless charges are filed against him, had an ATM card and about $100 in his account. But he was using the “cash advance” feature on the machine and repeatedly requesting $700.

The ATM obliged an estimated 53 times before police intervened. Bernard said the cash advance option on an ATM is for people who have a pre-approved line of credit with a bank, which the homeless man did not have.

“It is illegal. He is taking money that doesn’t belong to him, and the bank at this point has elected not to prosecute, although the case is still under investigation,” Bernard said. “That ATM has been taken out of service and is being checked out to determine why it malfunctioned.”

The money was returned to the bank. Bank officials say they don't want to press charges. But police continue to investigate. The man hasn't been charged.

A bank official describes the problem as a "code error" and says no customer accounts were affected.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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