ATM thieves sentenced to two years in jail

Two ATM bandits who went on a theft spree in the region last year, have been sentenced to two years jail time and ordered to each pay $90,000 restitution.

Thirty-nine-year-old Darrin Hoffman and Julian Hoekstra, 37, were arrested in January after video surveillance identified the suspects, who later plead guilty and were sentenced to three counts of break and enter.

While Hoffman received his sentence in April at the Rossland courthouse, Hoekstra was dealt his fate May 24 in Nelson.

“This is an excellent example of the community and police working together to solve crime,” said Staff Sgt. Dan Seibel of the Kootenay Boundary Regional Detachment.

“The investigation after these offences resulted in some video surveillance coming forward from the financial institutions and our investigators were able to develop some still photos, which were sent out through the media and internally. As a result of information received, identification of these two suspects was made.”

The ATM thieves robbed the Kootenay Savings Credit Union night deposit box at Waneta Plaza on Sept. 12 last year, before hitting the Heritage Credit Union ATM in South Slocan on Sept. 14.

This after they robbed one at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Airport in Castlegar on Sept. 10, followed by an attempt at the Kootenay Savings South Slocan branch on Sept. 12.

Though an “undisclosed amount of money” was stolen from the machine at the Castlegar airport, the thieves were unsuccessful in gaining any funds in the other three instances.

“I don’t think it was an extraordinary sophisticated (operation),” said Seibel.

“The one in the Waneta mall, they were able to get behind it,” he said, adding that they broke into a neighbouring business and then accessed the safe room. “The other rural locations, they used tools to try and access them without physically removing the ATMs.”