Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Stealthy thief drops through roof, crawls to avoid motion detectors

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BRANDON -- In a heist that resembled the plot of a Mission Impossible movie, a bandit broke into a local business through its roof and stealthily dodged motion detectors before escaping undetected with cash.

The thief removed a concrete slab from the top of an exterior wall of Wheat City Cycle, peeled back a portion of the steel roof and dropped into the store sometime overnight between Wednesday and Thursday.

After snaking through a hole about half a metre wide, and moving a part of the dropped ceiling, the intruder must have crawled along the floor to avoid motion sensors to nab approximately $1,000 from the store's cash box, said the store's owner.

A conveniently placed ladder helped the thief crawl back through the hole in the ceiling.

"They were pretty smart," said owner Mike Vodon. "It was obviously fairly organized, so the police say."

Wheat City Cycle, which sells motorbikes and ATVs, has a large and expensive inventory, so Vodon counts himself lucky the thief only took the cash.

However, the store's various alarms and theft deterrents would definitely keep thieves from taking off with a big-ticket item.

"You got to change with the criminals, you got to adapt," he said. "You have to make it harder for them."

This isn't the first time the store has been a break-in victim. Past smash-and-grabs through the front door forced Vodon to put metal bars across the door and cover the locks.

"You're not going to stop them; all you can do is make it harder for them," he said. "Our business is tough, because it's easy for them to sell this type of stuff on the street."

Police Const. Travis Foster said a break-in like this is rare in the city.

"People pry open doors and whatever, but to actually go through the structure, I would say that's above and beyond," he said.


Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 24, 2014 A14

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