January 8, 2019 10:52 pm

RCMP warn business owners after spike in ATM thefts in Calgary, surrounding areas

WATCH: Security footage shows the theft of an ATM from a Crossfield gas station.

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Following a series of ATM thefts in southern Alberta, RCMP are asking for help in identifying a thief after the latest incident: an ATM was stolen from a gas station in Crossfield, Alta., on Monday.

Police responded to an alarm at the Crossfield Shell at 4:45 a.m.

Video showed a man smashing the front door’s window and walking into the station. The suspect tied ropes to the ATM, connected it to his van and drove away.

“If you look at the surveillance video, it was unbelievable when the van pulled away,” said Cpl. Gina Slaney on Tuesday. “It pulled out all the shelves, the front desk and the front doors. There’s a significant amount of damage.”

The automated teller machine had an undisclosed but “significant” amount of money inside, Slaney said.

“The ATM has been recovered,” she said. “Unfortunately, there’s no money left in the ATM.”

The suspect and his vehicle, a white Ford Econoline 15-passenger van, are still at large.

RCMP are investigating after a series of ATM thefts in Calgary and surrounding areas.

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Meanwhile, on Jan. 4 at 3:40 a.m., police responded to an attempted theft in Airdrie after an alarm went off at a Shell gas station.

A stolen black Ford pickup truck backed up to the front door and smashed the glass, Slaney said.

“There were tow ropes around the ATM but the suspects were unsuccessful in getting that ATM,” she said.

By the time police arrived, the suspects had fled on foot.

Anyone with information about the thefts should call the Airdrie RCMP at 403-945-7200, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.

READ MORE: Thieves get away with ATM in southwest Calgary

With seven investigations — two in Airdrie and five in surrounding areas — underway, ATM thefts have become more common as of late, Slaney said.

“Calgary area are investigating numerous thefts of this type,” she said. “The areas surrounding Calgary, as well, some of those communities have been hit with similar incidents.

“Our southern Alberta district crime reduction team has just been assigned — as of this morning, actually — to investigate all of these to see if we can link these crimes.

“Some incidents may be related, but we don’t believe at this time that all of them are from the same offenders.”

READ MORE: Okotoks RCMP investigating attempted ATM theft, break and enter

RCMP are asking business owners to be aware that these crimes are happening.

“Report any suspicious behaviour, people may come in and out,” Slaney said. “The suspects may even come in and have a look. It seems that they know where the ATMs are and how to get into the businesses. So be aware of that. Keep your eyes open.

“Ensure your security systems are working — the cameras. When we’re investigating incidents such as this, if we have good surveillance video, it really helps our investigation.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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