Drive-thru robbery destroys front entrance of Lethbridge pub
Honkers Pub owner says damage comes at an already hard time for local business
Police are investigating after thieves drove a truck through the front of a Lethbridge, Alta., pub, making off with the ATM.
Honkers Pub manager Chelsea Meyering said she got an alarm notification at 6 a.m. Sunday, and after checking the cameras, saw the damage.
The truck had driven through the front entrance of the business, located at 2808 Fifth Avenue North, and surveillance video shows the truck's two occupants stealing the pub's ATM and then driving away.
"The front window was completely taken out," Meyering said. "You feel violated for sure. This is not just a workplace for us, this is our other home."
When police arrived, the floor was also scattered with cans of soup — the business had been collecting non-perishable donations for the food bank.
- Watch | Surveillance video captures the moment robbers drove through the front of a Lethbridge pub
Pub owner Vicky Vanden Hoek said the damages are estimated to be more than $20,000.
Nobody was injured, something Vanden Hoek said she's very thankful for.
A hard time for small business
Vanden Hoek said the robbery comes at the end of a tough week, as new restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19 have been hard on local businesses like hers.
The pub also has a conference room cafe, and had 19 events for 15-person groups scheduled in the coming weeks that were cancelled.
"The new rulings have almost taken our business to a halt, even though we're doing everything possible to distance, sanitize, wear masks," she said.
Vanden Hoek said another blow came on Friday, when Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis turned off their four VLT machines even though large casinos in the city were allowed to keep operating.
"We just thought that's just not fair, us local pubs are trying to survive … and with the break-in, it's like strike three, it can't get worse, it's got to get better." Vanden Hoek said.
She said she was told by AGLC the machines will be turned back on in time for the pub to reopen on Tuesday.
Vanden Hoek said she understands everyone is struggling, but she's sad the thieves chose to hurt a small business in their desperation.
"We just want people to go get help. We would be the first people if they needed a free people come in, we'd cook them something … just don't sabotage our business."
Vanden Hoek said the community has been extremely supportive, even starting an online fundraiser to support the business which has been a fixture in the area for 23 years.
Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to contact Lethbridge police at 403-328-4444, or to contact Crime Stoppers anonymously.
With files from Julie Debeljak