ATM thieves cause $75G dam­age

Simcoe Reformer - Times-Reformer - - FRONT PAGE - MONTE SONNENBERG

PORT ROWAN – Dam­age was es­ti­mated at $75,000 af­ter three sus­pects forcibly re­moved an au­to­mated teller ma­chine from the Esso sta­tion in Port Rowan.

The sus­pects ar­rived on Front Road near the in­ter­sec­tion of High­way 59 in the early morn­ing hours of Mon­day.

Af­ter siz­ing up the sit­u­a­tion, one of the sus­pects rammed a pick-up truck into the front of the store. A chain or rope was tied around the ATM, which was dragged away as the sus­pects headed north on High­way 59.

The theft wasn’t only de­struc­tive, it was dis­rup­tive.

The busy ser­vice sta­tion did not open Mon­day and will re­main closed un­til the build­ing is re­paired. Own­ers of the sta­tion is­sued a pub­lic state­ment Mon­day that the Long Point Coun­try Cham­ber of Com­merce shared on its Facebook page.

“Please ev­ery­one,” the mes­sage said. “The Port Rowan Esso is closed while we sort out the hor­rific dam­age to our build­ing. We will do our best to get up and run­ning quickly but for the next day or two do not at­tempt to en­ter the prop­erty as the build­ing and area are quite un­safe.”

The Esso sta­tion was sur­rounded Tues­day with con­struc­tion fenc­ing. Em­ploy­ees of Clay­bar Con­tract­ing of Hamil­ton and Toronto were on site as­sess­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

A Clay­bar em­ployee who de­clined to be iden­ti­fied said there is no need to de­mol­ish the store.

“They’ll be able to fix it,” he said. “It’s not that bad.”

ATM theft has be­come a fre­quent, de­struc­tive crime in south­ern On­tario over the past two years. It is to the point where OPP ask busi­nesses to think twice be­fore in­stalling th­ese ma­chines on their prop­erty.

There have been more than 60 ATM thefts in south-cen­tral On­tario since the start of 2017. The OPP re­port dam­age from th­ese thefts ranges from $20,000 to $250,000. The vi­o­lent na­ture of this crime has left some build­ings struc­turally un­sound.

The av­er­age loss of cash in th­ese thefts is in the range of $10,000.

Lo­cally this year, ATM’s have been ripped out of busi­nesses in Water­ford, Oak­land, Bur­ford and Caledonia.

Nor­folk OPP were sum­moned to Townsend Road 6 near Water­ford Fri­day night af­ter an ATM was lo­cated in the bed of a pickup truck that had been re­ported stolen in Mis­sis­sauga.

The 2005 Chevro­let Sil­ver­ado and the ATM were de­stroyed by fire. Po­lice re­port the ATM had been stolen dur­ing a break-an­den­ter in Caledonia.

“If you don’t need one, you might not want one in your store,” Const. Ed Sanchuk, spokesper­son for the Nor­folk OPP, said in a video re­port from the crime scene in Port Rowan.

MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE RE­FORMER

The Esso gas bar in Port Rowan has been fenced off while con­trac­tors tend to the se­ri­ous dam­age caused when some­one ripped an au­to­mated teller ma­chine out of the store early Mon­day morn­ing. Dam­age to the build­ing has been pegged at $75,000.

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