(Submitted - image credit)
The latest public health orders locking down the province made for a relatively quiet night for the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary — until 3:30 a.m. Saturday, when an alarm was tripped at a store in Conception Bay South.
On arrival, police discovered what they described as "extensive damage" to the front of the building. There was an abandoned front-end loader nearby.
The RNC did not identify the business in this latest incident, but pictures on social media showed heavy damage at a Marie's Mini Mart in Manuels in C.B.S.
A string of unsolved thefts
It's not the first time heavy equipment had been used for a break-in on the northeast Avalon.
There has been a string of heavy-equipment related vandalism and theft in recent years. Several incidents, including at drug stores, grocery stores and banks, involved such equipment being used to smash through walls, often with the apparent target of removing ATM machines inside.
In two such instances, charges were laid against different people, but in both cases charges were dropped for lack of evidence or chance of conviction, most recently just this last September in the case of a backhoe carving through the wall of the Dominion store on Blackmarsh Road, and the theft of over $5,000 in pharmaceuticals and narcotics.
Investigators left with heavy lifting
The string of smash-and-grabs prompted debate in the St. John's area over the security of idling construction machinery.
In many cases, loaders or backhoes had been taken from nearby constructions sites prior to the robbery.
As for Saturday's early morning break-in, no arrests have been made as yet.
The investigation is ongoing.
Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador