In large parts of West Germany, "Plofkraaker" cause unrest.

No wonder, because the crackers, according to the translation from Dutch, tend to strike at night or in the early morning hours.

They blow up ATMs at bank branches and take their loot across the mountains in just a few minutes with powerfully motorized vehicles.

Marcus Young

Editor in Business.

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Police officers speak of cases of organized crime.

Gangs from major Dutch cities such as Arnhem and Utrecht are behind the thefts.

Many banks have capitulated and closed branches.

Scheme of common raids

The owners of an apartment building in Ratingen are concerned that the ATM of the branch of the Spanish bank Santander on the ground floor of their house could be blown up;

From the location on a thoroughfare, two motorways can be reached within just a few minutes.

For two years, they have been asking their tenant to remove the ATM.

But Santander refused, after all, offering an ATM corresponds to the business purpose of a bank.

There was no breach of the lease agreement.

At least that’s how the Düsseldorf Regional Court saw it, which dismissed the lawsuit in November 2020.

Only abstract danger

On Monday, the owners and Santander met again in an appeal to the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court.

But the prospects of success for the plaintiffs remain clouded.

In its preliminary view, the Senate tends to confirm the earlier judgment of the regional court, says a court spokeswoman when asked by the FAZ. The risk of an explosion is too abstract and low, it said at the hearing.

With 70,000 ATMs nationwide, the number of blasts was 350, according to the judges.

In addition, the owners had already agreed on commercial use in the 1970s by means of a division arrangement.

For Santander to ban ATMs, all owners would have to agree to an amendment.

The Senate plans to announce its decision on the "Plofkraaker" dispute in Ratingen on March 21.

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