If an ATM shows up in the middle of the woods and no one is around to see it, does it actually exist? The answer is yes, because that’s exactly what happened in the woods of Maine recently. According to a report from Bangor Daily News, a Maine resident discovered the ATM on her property while out for her morning walk. The woman, whose name has not been disclosed, was walking along Dexter Farm Road in North Deer Isle when she stumbled upon the machine on Tuesday, November 20.
After her discovery, the woman notified the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office to let them know something didn’t look right. Upon arrival, Detective Steve McFarland was inclined to agree. The detective noted that the machine had not been tampered with, which was odd. He said in cases of theft, the machines are usually destroyed in order to gain access to the cash stored inside. McFarland also said no one has reported a missing or stolen ATM.
“Usually they are just thrown out into the woods, ripped open and smashed to pieces,” McFarland said. “If you wanted the cash out of it, you certainly would have ripped it open.”
It’s unclear whether or not the machine contained any cash, but McFarland did plug it in to see if it worked, however, he learned it did not. The report noted that the ATM was an older model made by Tidel, which is a common brand usually found in convenience stores. McFarland said the area where the machine was found is frequented by hunters and other outdoorsmen.
“It was set up like a hunter might need quick cash for a cup of coffee in the middle of the woods,” McFarland said.
Investigators were quick to put out a call for anyone with information regarding the machine and its origin. On Wednesday afternoon, they received a tip that the ATM may have been stolen from a diner in Brunswick last fall, but that tip didn’t quite pan out and the investigators were right back where they started.
The case was reportedly solved later that same afternoon when the owner of the ATM called to explain her side of the story. She revealed that the ATM wasn’t stolen or missing, but that she had removed the machine from the dumpster and placed it into the woods as a prank.
“We’ve just heard from the owner, who said she picked the ATM out of the trash,” a dispatcher told the Press Herald. “She told us she put it there as a joke, to her neighboring property owners.”
According to authorities, the woman’s prank could actually become a chargeable offense, but Detective McFarland seems to be more concerned about the machine’s proper disposal than the prank since no one was actually harmed.
“I could charge them with littering, but I doubt it. I don’t think I would do that,” McFarland said. “I would probably want the owner to come get it and dispose of it more appropriately.”