December 30, 2016 11:59 am
Updated: December 30, 2016 8:09 pm

Arrest made after backhoe found carrying ATM in north Edmonton

WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton police have laid charges against a 29-year-old man after a smash and grab and slow-speed pursuit in the city's northeast. Sarah Kraus has the details.

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A man was arrested Friday morning after police found a stolen backhoe carrying an ATM in north Edmonton.

Edmonton police said officers were called to a badly damaged CASHCO on 55 Street and 137 Avenue at around 6:20 a.m. where they found the ATM was missing.

“There was tracks indicating that a piece of heavy equipment may have been used,” Edmonton Police Service Staff Sgt. James Vanderland said.

Vanderland said an officer saw the backhoe driving away from the scene.

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A low-speed pursuit spanning roughly 10 blocks commenced after the backhoe didn’t stop. The driver eventually stopped and police found the ATM chained to the front bucket, according to Vanderland.

“His highest speed that he could attain was only about 20 kilometres per hour, so it was a very low speed. So the public wasn’t really in danger with that. Plus with the hour of the day, there was no pedestrians on the road, there weren’t many cars.”

Police said there is tens of thousands of dollars in damage to the store. No one was injured.

Christopher Hoffele, 29, has since been charged with break and enter, possession of stolen property over $5,000 and possession of break-in instruments.

An employee said it’s the third time an ATM has been stolen from the north Edmonton CASHCO.

Another CASHCO store was also broken into on Thursday in a similar way. Its ATM was also stolen using heavy equipment. Police believe the two incidents may be connected.

“In the future I think we’re looking into doing something better, putting in cameras to see everywhere. Because when you’ve got footage, at least you catch the guy,” maintenance worker Manuel Caetano said.

READ MORE: Excavator used to break into north Edmonton store and steal ATM

In September, thieves used an excavator to break in to a north Edmonton grocery store and steal an ATM.

READ MORE: Stolen tractor used in Alberta credit union break & enter

In May, a CAT 930G wheel loader was used to break through the wall of the ATB Financial in Caroline, Alta. In that case, two suspects did manage to get away with the ATM.

Two central Alberta men were later arrested while attempting to break into the Mirror post office.

Police said the two men were charged in a string of thefts.

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