ATM smash-and-grab spree continues
GUELPH — For the second time in two weeks, an ATM has been removed from the floor of a Guelph business and driven off in the back of a stolen vehicle.
On Friday at around 3 a.m., Nuguse Kahsay, the co-owner of the Stop and Shop Variety at the corner of Edinburgh Road and Oriole Crescent, was woken up by a call from his security company.
He called the police and drove to his shop.
In a news release, Guelph police said a pickup truck backed into the front window of the business and removed the ATM.
A stained outline and four holes in the floor mark the place where the ATM stood at the front of the shop.
Police said the truck used in the heist was stolen. It was later recovered near Laird Road and Hanlon Creek Boulevard. The ATM, however, was not recovered. This style of theft is not new to the area. On July 29, a cash machine was ripped from the floor at a plaza in Guelph. Police said the stolen vehicle used in the theft was found in flames in a parking lot not far away.
The following morning a similar incident took place in Cambridge. A Cashco Loans business at the corner of King Street East and Bishop Street was broken into and an attempt was made to steal the ATM from the store.
Waterloo Regional Police said the thieves were unsuccessful in taking the unit, but they did manage to open it up and get the cash inside.
Just like in Guelph, a short time after the break-in, a pickup truck — believed to be the same truck used in the break-in — was found in flames nearby on Industrial Road.
Last summer, there was a rash of ATM thefts.
Chains were connected to ATMs and trucks were used to haul them out of businesses — sometimes through walls or windows. Then they were loaded into the vehicles and the culprits would make their getaway.
Guelph media officer Const. Josh Fraser said detectives are looking at all three incidents over the past two weeks as possibly connected.
They are investigating alongside officers from Waterloo Region.
In Friday’s theft, the truck was not found on fire, but the ignition in the truck was punched, Fraser said. This means a screwdriver or something similar may have been used to start the vehicle in place of a key.
When asked about advice police might give to other business owners with ATMs, Fraser encouraged them to install surveillance cameras.
“It deters suspects if they know they will be captured on video.”
Kahsay said he was made aware of the recent thefts by the worker who refilled the ATM at his shop. He said he was told to move it away from the window to make it harder to steal.
He and his partner heeded the warning and tried to move it, but it was bolted to the floor. He said he figured it would take special machinery to move the unit, so it would be safe for the time being.
He said he was looking to get rid of the ATM anyways. He didn’t like having it in the store — it brought in too many dangerous people, he said.
“I don’t need it here,” he said, adding he’s only owned the shop for a year and already he’s had two major thefts.
At the end of last year, someone smashed the glass at the front of his store and took glass pipes from a display case. They just reached through and took what they could, he said. The case now sits away from the window, against a wall.
“Last year it happened, this year it happened. Not good,” he said. “I can’t believe Canada is like that.”
He said the police have a video recording of the truck coming into the store and the culprits removing the ATM.
Guelph police are asking anyone who may have information about this incident to contact the investigating officer at 519-824-1212, ext. 7170. Anonymous tips can also be left with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.