ATM bandits in custody after hit-and-run in Sylvan Lake

Two men suspected to be behind the ATM and VLT robberies in Big Valley, Bashaw and Donalda in the past month have been arrested.

After a K-9 unit tracked them down in Sylvan Lake.

The two men join a third man arrested after the Big Valley robbery.

The first of four incidents involving the accused was in Big Valley around 4 a.m. on April 18. Three men broke into a local store by breaking the window and stole an ATM, escaping in a light-coloured pick-up truck. Someone who came to investigate the noise was pepper-sprayed.

One of the three men accused in this was caught with ATM parts in the back of his truck in a traffic stop and arrested.

On April 21 around 4:45 p.m., police responded to an armed robbery at the Bashaw Foods Liquor Town store on 50 Street in Bashaw. Two men held the three employees working in the store at gunpoint. They also pepper-sprayed the employees, and assaulted them with an ice chipper that had been in the store.

The accused fled with money in a white pick-up truck that had been parked near the intersection of 51 Avenue and 50 Street.

About 20 minutes later, police were called to Donalda Hotel where an armed robbery was taking place. Two men held the employees working at the hotel at gunpoint. The men stole money and a VLT machine from the location, and fled in a truck that had been parked behind the hotel.

Two days later, an Alberta Traffic Sheriff clocked a white pick-up truck doing 150 km/h, but chose to not pursue due to public safety concerns. An hour later, at 9:30 a.m., Sylvan Lake police were called to a hit-and-run around 9:30 a.m. on Highway 11 at Range Road 20. A pick-up truck had hit a Dodge Dart car, but had fled by crashing through several barbed wire fences on to an adjacent field. The truck was found abandoned in the field, and the drivers arrested nearby without incident.

The truck had been reported stolen from Leduc two days earlier and had been plated with a stolen licence plate, RCMP reports. A sawed-off shotgun was found nearby. When the truck had been spotted by the sheriff, it had an ATV in the back which was not present. The off-road vehicle, stolen from a residence in Eckville, was found abandoned near Half Moon Bay.

The occupants of the Dart were taken to the hospital and released after treatment of minor injuries.

Thirty-seven-year-old Dixon Ross Bergseth of Red Deer is facing three charges of possession of stolen property under $5,000, and a charge each of flight from police, dangerous driving, failure to remain at the scene of an accident, possession of stolen property over $5,000, unlawful possession of firearm, unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm and unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm contrary to orders.

The second man, a 17-year-old who cannot be named under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, faces three charges each of possession of stolen property under $5,000 and fail to comply with youth probation orders, and a charge each of possession of stolen property over $5,000, unlawful possession of firearm, unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm, and possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).

Investigation continues and further charges may be laid.

Anyone with information about these crimes is asked to contact the RCMP at 403-742-4438 or anonymously contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477).