ATM smash-and-grab spree con­tin­ues

Waterloo Region Record - - Local - CHRIS SETO

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.

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