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ATM stolen outside SLU bookstore

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CANTON — Village police are searching for an ATM and at least two intruders who wrenched it from the floor outside the Brewer Bookstore, 92 Park St., at St. Lawrence University last weekend.

“One person is not going to be able to pick it up like a suitcase full of clothes,” interim police Chief Victor N. Rycroft said. The North Country Savings Bank automated teller machine weighs more than 265 pounds.

Records show the machine, which was in a vestibule with 24-hour access, was last used at 9:41 p.m. Friday, the chief said.

“After that, it’s open-ended,” he said.

The machine’s absence was not reported to police until 2:45 p.m. Saturday. Employees noticed the ATM was missing when they opened the store Saturday morning, but initially believed it had been removed for maintenance, police said.

Investigators and bank officials declined to say how much cash was in the machine, as the bank had not completed a full accounting following the robbery. The ATM had been reloaded with money on Wednesday, police said. David C. Swanson, bank president and CEO, declined to say how much cash such a machine typically would hold.

Police and college security staff are reviewing surveillance footage, but had yet to pinpoint any suspects as of Monday, Mr. Rycroft said.

Whenever it took place, the theft would have been laborious, with thieves ripping the hefty, 52-inch-high ATM from its moorings and carrying the machine through a well-lit area toward the parking lot on the south side of the building.

Investigators ask anyone who may have witnessed suspicious activity to contact them, though police acknowledged the robbery could have gone unnoticed amid crowds departing a hockey game Friday.

University spokeswoman Macreena A. Doyle said the game started at 7, and should have ended by about 9:30.

SLU had four security workers on duty that night, Ms. Doyle said, and they typically patrol the area around the bookstore entrance.

Anyone with information is asked to call Canton police at 386-4561.

“This is a first for us,” Mr. Swanson said of the theft.

The bank has maintained an ATM at that location for at least a decade, he said. It is one of about 10 machines the bank operates around St. Lawrence County.

When asked whether the bank would seek added security for the ATM at the bookstore, Mr. Swanson said, “I think that’s yet to be decided.” He said the matter would be discussed with the university.

The college also is considering its security procedures.

“We’re evaluating right now and will make a determination what, if anything, to change in the future,” Ms. Doyle said.

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