An Ontario police force has put up a $25,000 reward in hopes of stopping a group of fast-acting thieves who use welding torches and pry bars to steal stand-alone ATMs from business locations, often completing their thefts in less than a minute.
During a string of bold thefts, the masked thieves manage to extract the cash from small, stand-alone bank machines often in use at retail locations such as restaurants and gas stations.
Police say the thieves have made off with $700,000 so far in a string of more than 50 robberies at bingo halls, flea markets, arenas and grocery stores. The thefts date back to July 2011 and include locations from Ontario’s Niagara Region to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
Many of the robberies have been caught on surveillance tape. The video shows the thieves wearing gloves, masks and nondescript clothing to conceal their identities.
Police are seeking two suspects. One is a stockier man standing about six-feet tall, and weighing about 225 pounds, the other a smaller man about five-foot-ten and weighing 180 pounds.
"They remain very active, committing multiple entries on a monthly basis," said Det. Bob Lester of the Halton Police, the department posting the $25,000 reward. "They are very well organized and remain consistent in their method of operation."
The suspects have used many different late-model vehicles to escape following thefts, including newer minivans and SUVs.
Police believe the escape vehicles may be rentals.
Police are asking anyone working in the bank machine or welding supply business with information that may help solve the case to contact them.