The West Region Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Crime Unit is asking business owners to evaluate the benefits of ATM ownership. Since January 2017 thieves have targeted 58 businesses in the Brant, Waterloo, Hamilton, Owen Sound and Niagara areas. 

Just this month the Big Bee convenience in Caledonia was victimised.

The motive of operation is the same in each instance. Thieves scope out the location of the ATM, then sometime between 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. the suspects will ram a stolen vehicle through the front entrance or windows of the building, wrap a chain around the ATM and forcible rip it from the business.

The damage left behind ranges from $20,000 – $250,000 to the building and in some cases leaves the building structurally unsound. The average loss from an  ATM is approximately $10,000, plus loss of revenue while the store is closed and the associated repair costs. The costs can easily become unbearable, not to mention the increase to insure the business again. The average profit from an ATM is approximately .20 cents for every $20 dispensed.

There is no predictability in terms of when or where incidents occur. Gas stations, variety stores, large chain restaurants and shopping malls are all vulnerable.

The OPP encourage business owners with an ATM to report any/all suspicious activity to police immediately. The OPP are also alerting owners of pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles to always pocket vehicle keys and to ensure vehicles are locked at all times.