Nfld. & Labrador

Heavy equipment used in Conception Bay South break-in

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary spent part of Saturday morning on the scene of an attempted break-in using heavy machinery in C.B.S.

A smashed storefront involving heavy machinery mirrors similar incidents in the area

Photos on social media Saturday morning showed heavy damage to a Marie's Mini Mart in Conception Bay South. (Submitted)

The latest public health orders locking down the province made for a relatively quiet night for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary — until 3:30 a.m. Saturday, when an alarm was tripped at a store in Conception Bay South.     

On arrival, police discovered what they described as "extensive damage" to the front of the building. There was an abandoned front-end loader nearby.

The RNC did not identify the business in this latest incident, but pictures on social media showed heavy damage at a Marie's Mini Mart in Manuels in C.B.S.

A string of unsolved thefts

It's not the first time heavy equipment had been used for a break-in on the northeast Avalon. Several incidents, including at drug stores, grocery stores and banks, involved such equipment being used to smash through walls, often with the apparent target of removing ATMs inside.

In two such instances, charges were laid against different people, but in both cases charges were dropped for lack of evidence or chance of conviction, most recently in September in the case of a backhoe carving through the wall of the Dominion store on Blackmarsh Road, and the theft of over $5,000 in pharmaceuticals and narcotics.

Cleanup was underway Saturday afternoon after the damage caused by an attempted break-in at the Conception Bay South store. (CBC)

Investigators left with heavy lifting

A string of smash-and-grabs a couple of years ago prompted debate in the St. John's area over the security of idling construction machinery.

In many cases, loaders or backhoes had been taken from nearby constructions sites prior to the robbery.

No arrests have been made in Saturday's break-in. Police say the investigation is ongoing.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador