Clovis man arrested after ATM malfunction

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

A Clovis man was charged with a felony Wednesday when he tried to retrieve his ATM card from a bank machine with his pocket knife.

Manuel Beltran, 56, said he was trying to withdraw money from an ATM at a retail store to pay bills.

“I put the card in, but it never came back,” he said Thursday.

“I’d never had a machine do that to me before, so I didn’t know what to do. I pulled out the pocket knife and started poking at that hole.”

Beltran was arrested on charges of attempted breaking and entering. He was released on $5,000 bond Wednesday evening, jail officials said.

A clerk saw Beltran “messing” with the machine, according to a police report, and advised him to call the toll free number on the ATM. She told police he was belligerent and told her to get away from him because he was going to get his card back and his money.

A manager called police, reporting a subject with a weapon trying to break into an ATM, the report said.

“I was mad at the machine but I didn’t threaten anyone,” he said.

“All I was doing was trying to see if I could (devise) some way I could retrieve it, and that’s when everything went down,” the disabled man said.

Beltran said he contacted the ATM company and was told his card would be destroyed and to order a new one from his bank.

In the meantime, he said he is having to borrow money to pay his bills.

“I really regret going to get any money. I’ve always gone to that ATM machine and I never had any problems,” he said.

“I was upset because I couldn’t get my card back. I really never broke into the machine. Hopefully they drop the charges (because) I was not intending to break into anything.”

District Attorney Matt Chandler said his office has yet to review the charges against Beltran.

He said attempted breaking and entering carries a penalty of up to 18 months imprisonment.