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Business owners in rural Alberta are experiencing ATM thefts

Some Alberta store owners are wondering if owning an ATM is worth the trouble.
Sam Edwards High Level, Alberta

Two men were seen on camera stealing an ATM from a Petro Canada in Whitecourt, Alberta.

The footage shows one man jumping into the store through the broken door. He brings a tow strap with him and hooks it up to the store’s ATM.

When it is hooked to a vehicle outside, the men attempt to drive away with the ATM but it becomes stuck in the doorway. They are eventually able to lift the ATM through the doorway and leave the scene.

Megan Reutman, the manager of the gas station was notified about the break in by the security system, when she received a message on her cellphone.

According to CBC, Reutman called the police around 4 a.m. The police were unable to make it to the scene on time, and the theft cost Reutman and her family losses of about $25,000.

RCMP spokesperson, Fraser Logan said, “Attacks upon ATMs inside businesses, including the theft of these machines, continue to be an ongoing issue.”

According to the RCMP, there have been 51 attempts at stealing ATMs in 2019 from January to October. Some successful thefts and some unsuccessful. Police say this is about average for Alberta.

The president of the chamber of commerce in High Prairie, Barry Sharkawi noted, “Business people, they’re calling me, you know, saying ‘This is enough, we can’t take this anymore.’”

“They are upset,” He added, “Not just that they are scared about the break-and-enters, but they’re asking, ‘Who’s next?'”

Sharkawi posted another image of a Circle K that had similar damages on Nov. 21.

In a Facebook post, Sharkawi said, “Something has to happen regarding security of the town,” he added, “If this keeps happening, it will scare anybody to come and invest in High Prairie.”

Some business owners are unsure if owning an ATM is worth all of the trouble.

Reutman noted, “We haven’t replaced it. We’re still deciding if we want an ATM back in our store.” she added, “Things are not cheap.”

“[Replacing] the garbage cans, like, you just think it’s a garbage can, but because you have to get specific ones from Petro Canada, they’re $150 each.”

Sharkawi said, “We need to be saved, that’s all,”

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