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Police credit public’s help in case of ATM break-ins

The two men charged with stealing money from an ATM at the West Kootenay Regional Airport and attempting to break into three other ATMs in the area last September have now both been sentenced.

Darrin Christopher Hoffman and Julian Alexander Hoekstra received the same sentence of two years in prison and are each ordered to pay $90,000 in restitution for the amount of damage they caused to the machines, Staff Sgt. Dan Seibel with the Kootenay Boundary RCMP said.

“Crime doesn’t pay in this case,” Seibel added, saying the $90,000, which each man has to pay, is a significant amount of restitution for a case like this.

An undisclosed amount of money was stolen from the ATM at the airport, but the men were unsuccessful in the other break-in attempts.

Both suspects and their vehicle were caught on video surveillance, which Seibel said helped RCMP, with help from the public, track down the men.

"I'm going to say those successful cases, there is a good percentage that have some assistance from the public,” he said. “It could be something … like an accident or a hit and run with damage where we're seeking the public's assistance and they come forward either to the detachment or to Crime Stoppers."

He said they were encouraging the public to come forward with information and from a combination of tips, including one that disclosed the location of one of the suspects, they were able to arrest both.

The four occurrences were on Sept. 10 at the airport, Sept. 12 at the Kootenay Savings Credit Union at the Hwy. 3A and Hwy. 6 junction, Sept. 12 at the Kootenay Savings Credit Union at the Waneta Mall in Trail and on Sept. 14 at the Heritage Credit Union ATM in South Slocan.

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