In Calgary at approximately 12 a.m., three armed Brink’s guards arrived in an armored car and parked it at the south entrance of the CIBC at North Hill Centre. One guard remained in the car while two others, making a cash delivery, entered the bank where they were attacked by the suspects who, police said, likely wore gas masks.
Bullets smashed into the adjacent Sailor’s Steamer Hot Dog kiosk and windows of the Canada Safeway outlet where two night workers heard the shots.
The robbers, who fled with an undisclosed amount of money, ambushed Brink’s guards with an automatic weapon, a shotgun and tear gas.
The suspects released the tear gas and an exchange of gunfire followed. The Brink’s guards were armed with handguns.
No one was injured.
A dozen police detectives were investigating the robbery early today. Police said in a statement: “Investigators are conducting an audit with Brink’s personnel to determine what was obtained by the culprits.”
Calgary leads the nation in recent armored-car heists. There is no ready explanation, says an armored-carrier expert.
“If you use the U.S. experience, there is an erratic pattern to these crimes,” Robert McCrie, professor of security management at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, said Friday.
The robbery, at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) branch in the North Hill Shopping Centre, is the fourth that occurred in the armored courier industry in Calgary since last July. That number surpasses current rates for Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
In Friday’s incident, two suspects wearing phoney security uniforms passed themselves off as guards to cleaning staff who admitted them to the bank, police sources said.
Police gave no descriptions of the suspects Friday.
(From Rick Mofina and Sean Gordon, Calgary Herald March 21 1998. Copyright Southam Publications Inc.)