Wednesday, 27 March 2013

YouTube video leads to arrest of prolific ATM criminals

Canadian police recently arrested four people from the notorious Torch Gang, including a father and son, after 130 ATMs in Ontario and Quebec were burned with a blowtorch in a backpack and more than C$1 million in cash was stolen.  Despite the suspects wearing balaclavas and gloves, the information provided by the police in the video was sufficient for the men to be identified and arrested.  

Is social media the way forward to combat ATM criminals?  With more than 60,000 viewings this video seems to have been essential for police.

The Torch Gang were professional, organised and carried out successful ATM attacks in 60 seconds using an oxyacetylene torch.  Their first attack took place on 24th October 2010 and they operated widely across the country.  To counter them a joint investigation called Project Scorch was initiated.  This involved several police forces, including Ottawa police.  Halton Police put up the video, which also offered a C$25,000 reward.

William Nolin, Réjean Lavigne, Maxime Lavigne, and Pierre Poirier, have been charged with break and enter, participating in a criminal organization, and possession of break-and-enter instruments.  According to Halton Police sources the suspects will also face around 50 additional charges in other jurisdictions.

For more information see a related article in the Ottowa Citizen.

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