Shannon Keith makes busting him easier than ripping an ATM out of a wall with a stolen U-Haul

Back in November, when we told you about an attempt by a man to steal an ATM in Boulder by ripping it out of a wall using a stolen U-Haul truck, we wrote that the most amazing thing about the perpetrator wasn't "that he thought the scheme might actually work. It's that he hasn't been caught yet. Maybe he's not as stupid as he seems."

This last contention's debatable. Yes, the man who now stands accused of the crime -- Shannon Keith, 38 -- was allegedly smart enough to alter his hair and appearance after photos like the one seen here were publicized. But that's not the reason he evaded capture until yesterday.

According to Boulder Police Department spokeswoman Sarah Huntley, the cops were onto him pretty quickly -- and he made it a snap for them to grab him yesterday when he showed up for a court appearance about something else entirely.

Thanks to the crime scene video images, Huntley says, "We got multiple tips" -- but they weren't all consistent: "Some of the people said it was Shannon Keith and some of them said it was different people. So detectives had to spend some time doing photo lineups and that kind of thing."

Also complicating matters was the fact that the stolen U-Haul investigation was being handled by the Boulder County Sheriff's Office, not the BPD. In the end, though, detectives were able to conclude that Keith was indeed responsible for the ill-fated ATM effort, which failed to shake the contraption free but did manage to cause approximately $28,000 in damage.

By late last week, Huntley says, "we had enough evidence to seek an affidavit. And we knew he was coming into court yesterday on a separate case. So our people alerted the sheriff's deputies and asked if they would take him into custody based on our arrest warrant."

Saving the authorities the expense of having to track him down themselves. How convenient.

Look below to see the BPD's release about Keith's bust, as well as more crime-scene images and additional details from the department circa last November:

Suspect in attempted ATM heist arrested

The suspect in an attempted ATM theft on Nov. 25, 2009, has been arrested, thanks, in large part, to community members who identified him after video footage of the crime was publicized. The suspect, Shannon Keith, with a date of birth of 6/5/1971, was taken into custody on Thursday, Feb. 18, by sheriff's deputies after he appeared in court for an unrelated matter.

Keith, who lives in Westminster, is accused of stealing a white U-Haul van in the county and then attempting to steal an ATM machine from the Chase Bank at 6300 Gunpark Drive in the city. Surveillance video from the bank shows the suspect wrapping chains from the van around the ATM and trying to yank the machine out of the ground. He was unsuccessful, but the attempt caused $28,000 worth of damage.

The police department released the surveillance pictures to the media and they were broadcast by a number of outlets. The tips that led to this arrest followed those broadcasts. There are indications that Keith shaved his hair and attempted to change his appearance as a result of the publicity.

He has been booked into the Boulder County Jail. Bail was set at $40,000. No photo is being released at this time.

Police release photos from attempted ATM theft

Boulder police are releasing four photos of the suspect and vehicle in the attempted theft of an ATM machine that occurred at about 2 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25, outside the Chase Bank, 6300 Gunpark Drive. Investigators have recovered the vehicle but are asking for the public's help in identifying and locating the suspect.

The incident was discovered when officers went to the bank to respond to an audible alarm. They found the ATM machine on its side, about 15 to 20 feet from where it had been positioned. Wires were sticking up from the ground and heavy chain was wrapped around the machine. No money had been removed from the machine.

Surveillance photos show a man tying the chain to the back of U-Haul. The U-Haul truck was recovered a short distance away, in the 6500 block of Gunpark Drive, on Wednesday afternoon. It had been reported stolen out of Boulder County.

Anyone with information about this incident or this suspect is asked to call Detective Tom Dowd at 303-441-3300. Those who have information but wish to remain anonymous should contact the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-444-3776. Tips can also be submitted via the Crime Stoppers Web site at Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 from Crime Stoppers.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts