Alberta village's only bank closes indefinitely after failed safe heist

·2 min read

People in Czar, Alta., will have to go elsewhere to do any in-person banking.

The village's only bank, an ATB Financial agency, was broken into and nearly destroyed by thieves on Thursday morning.

"They destroyed both the front doors, they destroyed the front wall, broke the front window," Mayor Angela Large said Friday. "It was a mess."

Inside the business, shelves were toppled, paper files scattered and the safe was missing.

"They ended up pulling out the safe from the building to the outside," Large said. "I'm not sure what happened but they ended up leaving the safe at the side of the road. Whether they got scared off or couldn't pick it up, I don't know."

Facebook
Facebook

Security camera footage shows a vehicle in the area at around 4:30 a.m. Thursday, but it doesn't provide many other clues.

RCMP Cpl. Ron Bumbry said investigators are looking for two suspects and a truck, believed to be an early 2000s silver or grey Dodge extended cab truck with a flat deck, which they used to enter the bank.

"Then they tied a tow-strap to a safe inside. The safe was removed out of the building but the suspects were unable to load it onto the truck before they fled the area."

Nothing else was taken, he said.

The bank will have to be repaired before it can reopen, Large said.

"It's important to the members of the community who, a lot of them, are local to the area and don't maybe drive to town," she explained.

"Our next town would be Wainwright or Provost and that's a half hour away, so for the seniors in the area, it's very handy that they have a bank in town."

Facebook
Facebook

Large said they don't see a lot of crime in Czar, 245 kilometres southeast of Edmonton, though it has been a bigger issue in neighbouring communities.

"It definitely is a sign of the times with less people working, or is it more people addicted to drugs trying to get money for drugs? I don't know."

A spokesperson with ATB Financial said the company would not comment during an active police investigation. The local owner of the ATB Agency in Czar could not be reached for comment.