Calgary thieves use front end loader to steal ATM

Thieves in Calgary went to some rather extreme measures in an attempt to grab some cash early Sunday morning, stealing a front end loader to smash into a Royal Bank branch and make off with the bank machine.

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The theft occurred just before 4 a.m. Sunday morning. Security camera footage caught the thieves driving the large yellow loader through the side of the building, nabbing the bank machine and then leaving the loader behind.

Police are now reviewing the video to try to identify the suspects. They have not offered a description of the suspects so far.

Meanwhile, the owner of the front-end loader told CTV Calgary he was shocked his vehicle was used in the robbery.

Serge Arsenault has been contracted to do snow removal at the mall where the bank branch is located for the last five years. He says that through the winter, he normally leaves the vehicle locked overnight behind one of the stores.

He says whoever got the machine operating knew how to operate such vehicles.

“They opened the loader, it was locked, the safety lock was removed from the machine. The guy knew what he (was doing)," Arsenault told CTV Calgary, adding he is now concerned about poor security at the mall.

The bank branch suffered extensive damage to its roof and walls, but RBC says it plans to clean up the mess and get back to business as quickly as possible.

"We are grateful that our clients and staff are safe and no one was hurt today," Pamela Brown with RBC said in a statement.

This is the latest in a series of smash and grabs in the Calgary area in last few days. Last Thursday, a pickup truck was used to smash into an electronics store in the city’s southeast end.

In that incident, drivers used the truck to repeatedly crash into the store’s loading bay door until it buckled. Three men in dark clothing then ran into the store and quickly loaded the pickup truck with $20,000 worth of flat screen TVs, before fleeing.

On Friday, a driver used a tractor in two unsuccessful attempts to steal ATMs in the town of Magrath, south of Lethbridge.

There have been more than a dozen ATM smash-and-grab thefts in the Calgary area since August. All involved thieves who used vehicles or weapons to break through doors or windows and then steal the machines.

In almost every instance, the thieves got away with little to no money, say Calgary police. That’s because such machines are emptied several times a day and then again at the end of the business day.

With a report from CTV Calgary`s Alesia Fieldberg


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