Just six weeks ago Nova Scotians marked the 20th anniversary of the botched
robbery in Sydney River that came to be known simply as the "McDonald's
Perhaps that's why that I keep thinking about that story as I read about
the horrific events unfolding in Alberta.
Those of us of a certain generation still have vivid memories of waking up
on the morning of May 7, 1992 to the news that three employees of the McDonald's
had been killed, and another young female employee in hospital fighting for her
A fellow employee, 19 year old Derek Wood was one of three young men
eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Wood used his kit bag to
prop open the basement door so they could get back in later to rob the place. He left it there after they fled the bloody scene. It
didn't take police long to arrest Wood, and then his accomplices.
In Edmonton, the man charged with killing three armoured car guards, and
leaving another in critical condition, was also an employee of the company. 21
year old Travis Baumgartner was the fifth person on the crew delivering money to
the University of Alberta.
Baumgartner was arrested Saturday night as he tried to cross the U.S.
border, in his own truck, without a passport, carrying a bag with $330,000. He
may as well have been wearing a t-shirt saying "I'm the guy wanted in the
armoured car heist - arrest me."
In both these crimes, you have to wonder what were these young men thinking?
Did they really believe they were going to get away with it? Was the
thrill of pulling off the big heist, of making the big score, so all
encompassing that it blocked every other part of their brain that at some point
must have be screaming "Don't Do It" ?
When they sat down to "plan" their crimes, did they think even for a
minute, what their lives would be like if they did get caught - the years spent
inside a tiny prison cell at a time in their lives when they should be building
careers and raising families?
Did they give even a nanosecond of thought to the people they were so
callously planning to kill, or for the life sentence of misery and heartache for
the families and loved ones left behind?
Two robberies, 20 years apart but so shockingly similar.
It makes you shake your head in disbelief.