ATM Thief

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A thief who hoped to rob an ATM machine at the Omaha Civic Center Wednesday morning got a soggy surprise instead.

Police said the would-be robber apparently tried to use a forklift to break open the machine and somehow, hit a sprinkler line in the ceiling.

Firefighters and police officers responded to a fire alarm about 4:30 a.m. to find water filling the entry floor and streaming down ramps into the basement.

Detective Chris LeGrow said they also found the ATM hanging from a forklift just inside the main entrance. Police said it appeared the thief failed to get any money out of the ATM.

Four hours later, maintenance crews were still sweeping up water and bits of plaster. Eventually, part of the ceiling collapsed.

Parks Director Larry Foster said after the mess is cleaned, the incident won't affect the building's use. He estimated repair costs at $5,000-$7,000.

As for the burglar?

"He's probably running around somewhere drenched right now," LeGrow said.