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Toronto business owner warning community after thieves target debit machine

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A Toronto business is warning others about a strange break-and-enter caught on the company’s surveillance video where the thieves didn’t attempt to steal his merchandise — just his debit machine.

Christopher Williams of Supreme Juice Bar on Eglinton Avenue told CTV News Toronto he hopes that businesses in the area check their statements and video cameras for suspicious behaviour as he wonders if this theft is connected to a larger operation.

“Never seen that before — they came into a place where there are lots of valuables and just take the debit machine,” Williams said in an interview.

“I think there is something cooking up, a scam or fraud, because what can you do with a debit machine at home?” he asked.

Williams reported the incident to the Toronto Police Service, who said they are investigating the matter as a break-and-enter.

A Toronto Police spokesperson said the report is being investigated by 13 Division. The force said it hadn’t received other reports of similar crimes in the area.

The video shows three people in hoods outside the door of the business at about 3 .a.m on Feb 3. The window is then smashed and one of the individuals can be seen ducking into the business.

The thief is pictured going straight for the cash register, and then goes behind the desk, appearing to rummage around. Then, he leaves. The whole event takes less than a minute.

When Williams arrived later that morning, he found the broken window, but the only thing missing was the debit machine.

The machines have been targeted by thieves who use them as a way to access much bigger frauds. Some have been used to reload money from the vendor’s account onto dummy cards.

Others have been returned to a store and are then put back into use, with neither the customers nor the businesses aware the devices have been modified and can send debit information to thieves.

Williams says he called his point of sale provider right away to cancel everything — and is going to get a replacement machine directly from a supplier.

He started his business nine months ago, selling smoothies and juices.

He says it’s not fair that he might be on the hook for the costs to replace the glass and the machine, though he hopes insurance will cover it.

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