Two security guards were injured Thursday during an explosion inside a bank in north Edmonton.
The security officers were delivering money to an ATM inside Scotiabank at 8140 160th Ave. around 2 a.m. MT when an “explosive device” was detonated, said Edmonton police Staff Sgt. Paul Czerwonka in an interview with CBC News.
There was a confrontation between a suspect and one of the guards, Czerwonka said.
The man was armed and he fled the scene with “money in hand,” he said.
The suspect remains at large.
‘A pretty bad situation’
The guards, a man and a woman employed by GardaWorld, were taken to hospital.
“The injuries were significant, physically, from what I can see from the photographs,” Czerwonka said.
“There was definitely significant injuries to the male guard, to his head and his scalp, potentially his skull. I don’t know how deep his wounds are, but they’re pretty significant.”
As of 6:30 a.m., a bomb unit and forensic investigators were en route to the scene, Czerwonka said. Drivers were being asked to avoid the area.
“We don’t even have a clue because the bomb guys haven’t done their search yet,” Czerwonka said.
“I don’t believe it was an accident. I think it was a device meant to make the guards, make them not able to respond so they could grab the money and run. I think it was intentional.
“It’s a pretty bad situation. We’re still investigating.”
‘Very, very loud’
Kevin Uchman, who lives across the street from the bank branch, said he and his wife were startled awake by the sound of the blast.
“The best way I can describe it is like a big garbage bin being dropped,” Uchman said Thursday morning.
“If you can imagine the big front-end loader trucks when they drop their bins … it sounded like it was being dropped from 20 feet.
“It was very, very loud.”
Initially, Uchman said he thought the sound was the clatter of a dump truck emptying garbage bins at the strip mall nearby.
“I shrugged it off,” he said.
Uchman and his wife went back to sleep, but when they woke up about an hour later to let their dogs out, the area was teeming with police.
Uchman said he has acquaintances who work at the bank, and news of the hold-up has left him feeling rattled.
“For something like this to go off in your own backyard, it was a little unnerving.”
In an emailed statement, GardaWorld’s director of marketing and corporate affairs Isabelle Panelli said the company is working with investigators.
”Our employees are now safe and in good hands,” Panelli said in the statement. “We are providing support to our employees, their families and colleagues at the branch.
“GardaWorld’s corporate security team is collaborating with the local authorities [in] the investigation.”
There was a heavy police presence on scene Thursday morning. Police tape encircled the bank where a GardaWorld armoured truck could be seen parked adjacent to the front entrance.
Police responded to a similar case in September when an improvised explosive device detonated inside the vestibule of an RBC branch near 27th Avenue SW and 141st Street in southwest Edmonton.
Guards had just arrived at the bank “to perform their regular duties” when a loud bang startled them, but no money was taken, police said.
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.