When criminal gangs and cartels unleashed a costly wave of “hook and chain” attacks on bank ATM machines, Texas State Representative Andrew Murr (R–Junction) took the lead in the Texas House to increase felony penalties for these crimes. The Texas Bankers Association (TBA) and Hill Country bankers hosted a luncheon in Kerrville on October 26 to thank Murr and recognize him with the association’s 2022 Community Crime Fighter Award.
“Representative Murr has helped communities fight back against the cartels and criminal gangs that use stolen cash from ATMs to fund their illegal drug, weapons, and human trafficking activities,” says Chris Furlow, TBA president and CEO. “We thank him for his efforts to give law enforcement and prosecutors new tools to combat financial crimes and let criminals know they will pay a steep price.”
“I am grateful to accept the Community Crime Fighter Award,” Murr says. “Supporting law enforcement and protecting the communities of House District 53 are, and always will be, among my top priorities.”
More than 500 ATM hook and chain attacks took place in Texas over the 18-month period leading up to the 2021 Texas legislative session. The crimes caused tens of millions of dollars in damages and disrupted citizen access to financial resources, particularly at the height of the pandemic.
The legislation sponsored by Representative Murr, a board member at Junction National Bank, and Texas State Senator Joan Huffman (R–Houston) increased felony penalties and allowed for prison terms of up to 10 years and fines of up to $10,000 (or both) for destroying or disabling automated teller machines. Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed the bill into law.
“Representative Murr took the time to understand the connections of these crimes to cartels and gangs and recognized the larger impact on our citizens and communities,” Furlow adds. “Andy is a legislator who takes action, and we are grateful for his outstanding leadership.”