This was one explosive drive-thru bank heist attempt.
Just call these would-be robbers the “Blow-Up Bandits.”
No card, no problem. This withdrawal attempt was made with a bomb. It happened at 5 a.m. Sunday at the TD Bank location at O’Connor Dr. and St. Clair Ave.
“People could hear the explosion for blocks around,” said community organizer Justin Van Dette. “The whole thing was a shock to the neighbourhood.”
People woke up to learn this was not a gas leak. This was an organized attempt at robbing their local bank. The blast drew a crowd which included Toronto Police and Toronto Fire, who were still on the scene Monday.
Black-and-white surveillance video obtained by The Toronto Sun from a nearby business shows two men casually walking away from the bank’s parking area about a minute before the explosion, reported the Sun’s Jack Boland.
The video shows the pair looking to duck into the front alcove entrance of East York Animal Clinic, before one of the men — wearing a hoody — walks eastward toward the entrance of another building.
Just as the man is about to step into the alcove of that building, his body shudders, and he ducks while a plume of smoke and debris can be seen coming from the ATM drive-thru area.
The video shows the pair running back to the bank area with their hands in their pockets to see what has happened.
Toronto Police have not yet released any information about suspects.
But on Monday, forensic officers scoured the affected parking lot, picking up shards of plastic, metal — and even something that looked like a BBQ fuel bottle. At least 77 numbered markers could be seen in the parking lot, and by noon, officers had laid down about another 30 red markers in a raised walkway area in front of the explosion.
It’s clear bandits tried to blow up the Green Machine on the outside of the bank in an effort to either have it loosened from the building or have it spill out cash.
Neither seemed to happen. It appears this withdrawal was denied.
‘It’s all pretty mysterious,” said Van Dette. “But there was a lot of police on it.”
Inside her shop, Urban Renewals — a herbal remedy store on O’Connor Dr. — Christine Fedirchuk recalled she and her partner heard the blast Sunday that “sounded like a shipping crate falling from a height — like boom — and it was really loud.”
Fedirchuk said she lives in the basement apartment of her business and didn’t feel anything, but neighbours on the second floor reported their apartments shook.
When Ed Tanner came Monday to do some banking, he expressed surprise that an explosive device was used on the ATM.
“People are awful hard up and stupid,” said Tanner. “One thing is you can see they are bombproof.
It’s not the first-time robbers have tried to take a bank machine by force. In the GTA, we have seen criminals actually back a truck right into a building and remove a machine through a knocked down wall. Other methods have included chainsaws.
While bandits intent on robbing bank machines have used pipe bombs in the U.S. and Germany, incendiary devices are new in the GTA.
“They basically tried to blow up the bank,” said Van Dette.
“At this time, the investigation is ongoing,” added Toronto Police Const. Ashley Visser.
They are looking for suspects with potential burn marks, crispy hair — and no cash.