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Culprits break into Casino Calgary, make off with ATM that turns out to be empty

how to steal an atm

Calgary Police surround Casino Calgary after a suspected ATM smash and grab in Calgary, on January 28, 2015. Crystal Schick / Calgary Herald

The two culprits who broke into a northeast casino Wednesday morning and made off with an ATM are in for a surprise.

“There’s no money in the machine,” said Staff Sgt. Travis Baker. “If they haven’t gotten into it yet, I’m sure they’re fairly disappointed right now.”

Security at Casino Calgary at 1420 Meridian Road N.E. notified police at around 6 a.m. to report what was initially believed to be an armed robbery, resulting in a heavy police presence in the area.

Police later determined two offenders in dark clothing had smashed the glass doors of the casino with a crowbar to gain entry to the building, then headed straight for the ATM.

Security footage shows the culprits loading the ATM onto a dolly and making their way outside, the machine at one point toppling on top of one of the crooks as they exit the building. Police say the two got into a waiting vehicle believed to be a silver coloured minivan.

Unbeknownst to the duo, the machine was in the process of being moved to a different part of the casino and was out of order and contained no cash, Baker said.

There were about eight to 12 security and cleaning staff inside the closed casino, but no one had any contact with the offenders and none were injured, said Vince Pao, spokesman with Pure Canadian Gaming, which runs Casino Calgary and three other casinos in the province.

The casino was evacuated and searched. It later reopened for business at 11 a.m. he said.

Pao said Pure Canadian Gaming is co-operating with the investigation, providing police with all the information, and will be reviewing the casino’s security procedures.

He added he’s not concerned about similar smash and grabs happening at any of the company’s other casinos.

“I’ve never heard of this happening at any of our other properties,” he said, adding he believes this was a “very isolated incident.”

The offenders remain at large.

Baker said investigators are taking a closer look at a gold Nissan Murano SUV that was in the area, as well as a back seat that was discovered about a block

away that may have been removed and dumped from the getaway vehicle.

He said this is one of 13 ATM smash-and-grab thefts since August, where offenders use a vehicle or weapon to crash through the doors or windows of a business.

In each case, very little to no money has been stolen — the machines are often emptied several times daily and at the end of the business day, which is why it’s puzzling that so many people continue to attempt these thefts.

“In reality, stealing an automated teller machine is probably a bad idea for making cash. Not a substantial amount of money is obtained from these for all the work, the effort,” Baker said, adding tools like grinders, axes and chisels are needed to get to the cash box within the machine.

“In most of the cases, these individuals have been absolutely unsuccessful in stealing the machine, never mind getting the money out of it. Most often the machine is too heavy, it’s bolted down, it’s too hard to get out of the store, they cause too much damage, or as we saw the other day, the vehicle got jammed inside the store and they couldn’t even get the vehicle out of the store, never mind the cash machine.

“It’s a very ineffective way to make a living.”

Calgary Police surround Casino Calgary after a suspected ATM smash and grab in Calgary, on January 28, 2015. Crystal Schick / Calgary Herald

Baker said damage to the targeted buildings has ranged from $5,000 to $40,000, and the business owners are often left on the hook for cleanup and restoration costs.

So far, three people have been arrested and charged in connection with two of the 13 incidents, unrelated to the casino smash and grab.

Aldrich Carnero, 28, and Richard Dimas, 27, have been arrested and are in custody for the incident at Cash Canada on Nov. 17, 2014.

Also arrested in relation to a similar smash and grab at the Husky Gas on Aug. 30, 2014, is Jesse Alan Johnson, 24, who remains in custody.

Baker said police urge businesses with ATMS to move the machines away from windows or doors, place them in view of security cameras, bolt or chain them to the floor, and empty them several times a day.

Category: Bank

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