'Easy money is not good money': Klein Karoo siblings return wads of cash they saw spewing from ATM

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Absa confirmed an incident at their ATM in Oudtshoorn.
Absa confirmed an incident at their ATM in Oudtshoorn.
PHOTO: Supplied
  • A trip to the ATM turned memorable for two teachers when money to the value of R10 000 flowed out of an ATM in Oudtshoorn.
  • The pair resisted temptation and called the police.
  • Alysia Mowers said she was in disbelief when she saw the money on the floor but did the right thing and reported it.

Two Oudtshoorn siblings resisted temptation and turned a blind eye to more than R10 000 in cash spewing from an Absa ATM in their Klein Karoo town last week.

Instead of pocketing their find, teachers Alysia, 32, and Shane Mowers, 28, called the police to inform them about the cash.

The siblings were on their way to a local bank in High Street to withdraw money for their mother, when Alysia encountered the ATM spewing R50, R100, and R200 notes onto the floor. 

"My mother asked me to go do a withdrawal for her at the bank and then my brother and I drove to the centre where he waited outside for me while I went inside. It was very quiet inside the centre, and I didn't see any security guards, so I tried to be as quick as possible," she said.

READ | Absa 'deliberate' about transformation with major exco shake-up

Alysia added that she went to the first ATM only to find it not working, she then tried a second one which was also out of commission.

She said:

I was about to go to the third one, but I just looked to my right and saw that money was shooting out of the second ATM. I was in complete disbelief.

She said she was alone inside the centre, and immediately thought it was a robbery gone wrong because "how does money just come flowing out of the bank like that".

"I then looked up above the bank teller and saw CCTV cameras, and I looked into the camera hoping there is a security guard on the other side as I indicated to them to look what is happening here, and pointed to the money on the floor.

"I then quickly ran out to tell my brother what was happening, and he came back inside with me to see." 

Shane estimated that about R10 000 could have been laying outside the bank, as there was also a huge stack of R200 notes in the ATM's slot.

"My brother was as shocked as I was when we stood in the middle of the money, deciding what we need to do as there was no way we were going to take the money," Alysia said.

Cash laying on the floor and stacked in Absa ATM
Money flowed outside the Absa ATM in Oudtshoorn.
Photo Supplied Supplied

They opted instead to call the local police.

"I told them what was happening, they arrived immediately and cornered off the scene until the bank manager arrived," she added.  

Alysia said when people then started arriving at the centre to use the banks and saw what was happening, she told them the ATMs were not working and the police were on their way.

According to her, one local told her, "Just collect the money", but she sternly replied, "No, I'm not touching the money; it's wrong."

Alysia said: "We are still in shock; it's like something out of a movie. My friends were all very upset with me for not calling them to tell them what happened, they even said that the money was worth petrol for an entire month." 

She added not once did the thought cross her mind to take the money:

Easy money is not good money.

"I work with children, and I try to teach them to always do the right thing in life and, as a teacher, I must be disciplined and an example for them.

"The next day when I went to work, I told the kids about what happened to me, their mouths were practically hanging on the floor with amazement," she said.

When asked what she thinks happened, Alysia said "the bank manager explained to me that he thinks the person that deposited the money did not wait until the money was correctly deposited into the bank. So maybe that was the case in this incident.

"That money could've been someone's bond payment, or car payment, and I really hope they followed up on their deposit because life is already difficult and to lose a deposit to that value can be very heartbreaking."   

She added had she been given R10 000 just like that, she would have used the money to pamper herself, and "definitely put money toward doing her Honours in teaching next year. 

She added:

Petrol is expensive and I would've first filled up my car before spoiling myself.

Absa's regional executive for physical channels for the Eastern and Southern Cape, Pholushi Malesa, confirmed the incident took place.

"Absa can confirm an incident involving an ATM occurred at the Absa Oudtshoorn branch on the evening of 19 July 2022. A thorough investigation has revealed that the returned cash was due to an incomplete transaction, rather than an infrastructure malfunction.

"All the notes returned have been recovered and Absa has engaged all the parties involved, including the customer who reported the matter. This is an isolated incident, and we always advise customers when transacting using an ATM to always ensure their transaction is completed fully before walking away," said Malesa.

Police spokesperson Malcolm Pojie said no case was reported to the police.

"It is alleged that the person went to withdraw money and then found cash within the machine that she did not withdraw. Police also only learnt about the incident through social media," he added. 


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