Nfld. & Labrador

RNC increasing worksite patrols in wake of heavy machinery robberies

Police say property owners need to do more to make sure their equipment is secure.

Move comes after a string of four ATM robberies in one week

A front-end loader was left outside a BMO branch on Newfoundland Drive after the machine was used to break into the bank. (John Gushue/CBC)

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is increasing patrols in areas where heavy equipment is stored in attempt to prevent more ATM robberies.

The move comes after a string of four heavy-equipment-assisted break-ins last week at businesses on the northeast Avalon.

Each time, thieves used an industrial vehicle to smash through a wall of a building to get at an ATM. 

"These incidents in the past couple of weeks certainly have our patrol members, y'know, taking certain care in areas where maybe heavy equipment is situated," said RNC spokesperson James Cadigan.

Jamie Kennedy, 40, and Cory Quilty, 41, were arrested after the most recent incident, where police say a front-end loader tore into a BMO branch on Newfoundland Drive early Saturday morning. They're both charged with breaking and entering, theft of a motor vehicle, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, unauthorized possession of a firearm, and other firearms offences.

A judge granted Kennedy bail on Tuesday, and Quilty's bail hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

Police are investigating whether there's a connection to the three previous robberies.

Thieves used heavy machinery to smash into businesses on the northeast Avalon four times in one week. (CBC)

In the meatime, Cadigan says, property owners have a responsibility to make sure their equipment is secure, and to report anything out of the ordinary. 

"We would hope that when we locate a suspect or an accused on a matter we do feel that's a deterrant and these investigations are active," he said. "So it's one of those situations where we want people to report any suspicious activity."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Andrew Sampson

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