Pickaxe used as thieves rob local business


Only business targeted, owner believes

Olds RCMP are investigating after thieves broke into Rips Audio Video & Spas Dec. 20. They forced their way through the front doors, then used a pickaxe and other tools to smash the alarm system and display cases to steal items.Rips president Leon Durand says they walked by thousands of dollars of big- ticket items and got into the display cases to take items that were easier to carry, like Bluetooth products. They also broke into the till, but he says there was only a small amount of cash ñ a “float” ñ in there because a deposit had been made earlier.

The robbery occurred at 1:10 a.m. according to video surveillance. Store manager Marianne Lawson discovered it as soon as she came in for work later that morning. RCMP received the call at 8:20 a.m.

“They had 30 seconds to get to the keypad and punch in the code. Instead of doing that, they took a pickaxe and swung it into our master control system,” tearing the keypad off the wall, Durand says.

Not content with that, he says, the thieves reached up into the ceiling and smashed cellphone backup equipment with the pickaxe too. They also damaged several video cameras. However, those tended to be older, lower resolution ones.

One man was wearing a hoodie. The other was wearing a balaclava. He says one guy appears to be about 5 feet 10 inches, the other about 6 feet tall.

Durand says Rips has several new high-resolution cameras, which weren’t damaged and got some good video of the robbery.

He says as far as he can tell, his business was the only one hit that night.

Durand says it doesn’t appear that it was an inside job, but he suspects the thieves may have checked out the store beforehand, because they seemed to know exactly where to go to undertake the robbery in a very short time.

“They just sort of ransacked the whole place, looking for stuff,” Durand says. “But they weren’t looking for anything big; I mean, there were lots of expensive things they could have taken. They were looking for things they could grab under their arms and run out the door.”

Durand says the business is insured, but it will take time to get the paperwork done.

Durand says the doors and other aspects of the business have been changed so thieves won’t be able to do that again.

He wonders if other businesses have footage that shows the perpetrators coming to the store carrying the pickaxe, etc. If so, he says, it would be nice to provide that footage to police.

Olds RCMP Cpl. Michael Black says police are awaiting information from the store’s video surveillance in order to proceed with the investigation.

“They had 30 seconds to get to the keypad and punch in the code. Instead of doing that, they took a pickaxe and swung it into our master control system.”LEON DURANDPRESIDENT RIPS AUDIO VIDEO & SPAS


About Author

Doug Collie

Doug Collie joined the Olds Albertan in 2014 as editor. He covers municipal politics, news, community events, arts and entertainment and sports happening in and around Bowden and Olds.