A 29-year-old unemployed man was sentenced to three years in prison and fined 10,000 yuan ($1,601) for attempting to break into two ATMs in a subway station, Zhabei District People's Court in Shanghai said Thursday.
The defendant, surnamed Deng, attempted to break into the machines early on the morning of July 6, after he stumbled upon a gate to the Huangxing Road Station of metro Line 8 that hadn't been closed for the night, according to a press release from the court. He entered the station that night hoping to find something of value.
Deng had moved to Shanghai from his hometown in Guizhou Province after he lost most of his money gambling, but he couldn't find a job, the court said. He managed to eke out a living scavenging recyclable items from public trash bins.
Deng tried pummeling two of the ATMs with fire extinguishers, garbage cans and plastic warning signs from around the station, but could not break them open.
After a few minutes, he ran off after a station employee spotted him. Police arrested him around 11 am that day near the station.
Although Deng didn't make off with any money, the court ruled that his actions constituted theft. In justifying his sentence, the court said that because the ATMs together contained more than 1 million yuan, it constituted theft of an exceptionally large amount of money.
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