Thunder Bay·Audio

ATM security measures can reduce theft, business owner says

A business owner who supplies and services ATMs in Thunder Bay says while theft comes with the territory, security measures can help.
Sioux Lookout Ontario Provincial Police released this photo of a suspect allegedly taking an Automated Teller Machine from Fresh Market Foods on Queen Street on July 11, around 4:30 p.m. (OPP)
A business owner who supplies and services ATMs in Thunder Bay says while theft comes with the territory, security measures can help.

Ontario Provincial Police are reminding businesses in the northwest region to make sure their automatic teller machines are bolted down, after two were stolen recently in Sioux Lookout.

Darryl Staal, who owns KIDA ATM services in Thunder Bay, said the industry has best practices to keep the devices secure.

"We'll fix it to the ground, to the wall, in any way we can. We'll utilize GPS tracking - things like that so if a machine were to go missing. In some of our higher risk locations there'll be cameras, etc."

ATM manufacturers recommend ways to secure the machines, and some even have sensors that can set off an alarm if the machine is tipped. (CBC)
Placement of the machines within a business — balancing safety with convenience — can also help, Staal said.

He noted it's relatively uncommon for the entire machine to be removed from a store. However, the thefts in Sioux Lookout aren't terribly surprising, he said.

"It's sort of the nature of the business that we can get robberies of these things. It does happen from time to time in the industry," said Staal.

Staal said his own business has yet to see any thefts like these, where machines were actually removed. He has about 100 ATMS, mostly in restaurants and corner stores in Thunder Bay.

ATM manufacturers offer suggestions on how to keep the machines secure, and his business always tries to follow those recommendations, he said.

Some of the machines even have sensors that can set off an alarm if the machine is tipped, he said.

"If you're an operator of an ATM, choose a company that's going to help you to make sure it's bolted, it's secure, and go through these best practices," Staal said.