Charges laid for theft of ATMs and lengthy police pursuit in southeastern and central Alberta
A man is facing charges relating to the theft of two ATMs over the weekend.
CALGARY — A man is facing numerous charges relating to the theft of two ATMs and a lengthy police pursuit around southeast and central Alberta over the weekend.
An arrest was made Sunday following the two-hour pursuit, which saw police deploy spike belts unsuccessfully.
The charges also relate to the theft of ATMs in Oyen and Hanna.
The first happened at the Debmart Café in Oyen, about 300 kilometres east of Calgary in the early-morning hours of Saturday.
Thieves in a Ford F350 smashed through the front entrance and made off with an ATM, which was empty. They later returned to steal thousands of dollars in merchandise and the entire burglary was caught on a security camera.
According to RCMP, the F350 was later found "burned out" in a rural area. People were spotted leaving that scene in a large, dark-coloured, lifted Dodge Ram truck that was pulling a white enclosed trailer.
The second ATM theft happened at the Canada Grey Motor Inn, in Hanna — about 220 kilometres northeast of Calgary — around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Surveillance footage showed two people wearing masks inside a stolen Ford F150, which smashed through the front entrance. Once inside, thieves made off with an ATM.
The truck was later recovered in Consort, about 140 kilometres to the northeast.
Police then spotted one of the suspects in another vehicle and a pursuit was launched. The chase lasted about two hours and saw officers deploy spike belts, which the driver managed to avoid.
Officers from several detachments were involved, including Wainwright, Provost, Vermillion, Consort, Coronation, Oyen and Hanna. Members of the RCMP Police Dog Services stationed in Calgary, Red Deer and Lloydminster also responded.
Once the truck came to a stop, a man was taken into custody without incident and police recovered a sawed-off, pump-action shotgun as well as break-and-enter tools.
Rick Ernest Atzler, 26, of Fawcett, Alta has been charged with:
- Robbery with a firearm
- Pointing a firearm
- Theft over $5,000
- Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle
- Fail to stop for police
- Two counts of possession of property obtained by crime
- Six firearms offences
- Failing to stop for police
Police say charges are also pending from Oyen, Coronation and Provost.
Atzler was remanded into custody and is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 28 in Hanna and Nov. 29 in Coronation.
Police are also continuing to try and identify a second person believed involved in the theft of two ATMS.