Five coffee shops in Edmonton and three in St. Albert were victimized on Jan. 17 by thieves who stole their wall-mounted hand dryers, according to police.
RCMP and Edmonton police believe they may be connected incidents.
In St. Albert, RCMP responded to complaints of Dyson wall-mounted hand dryers being stolen from three separate Starbucks locations between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
RCMP described the suspect as a man wearing glasses who had a heavier build, short dark hair and full facial hair.
Global News reached out to Starbucks for comment but the company declined.
On the same day, Edmonton police were contacted about five hand dryer thefts from coffee shops along Gateway Boulevard and Calgary Trail.
Edmonton’s police chief said criminals are looking for materials that they can sell.
“The catalytic converters, some of the Dyson hand dryers — obviously, it’s the precious metal in them… That’s what would-be thieves would target,” Dale McFee said.
“They take it to get what is not traceable… as cash.”
He said police forces across Alberta are taking steps to look specifically at the issue of metal theft.
McFee said property crime should not be looked at as “less serious” crime.
“Property crime is significantly related to meth use… I think property crime is feeding a lot of our violent crime. We’re refocusing in how we can best deal with that,” he said.