EDMONTON — Two security guards have been injured in an explosion that occurred during an overnight armed holdup at a Scotiabank branch in northeast Edmonton.
Police at the scene say the guards — a man and a woman employed by GardaWorld — suffered significant head and facial injuries in the blast that occurred around 2 a.m.
They also say the guards were involved in some sort of confrontation with a male armed with a gun, who got away with a bag of money and is still being sought.
Alberta Health Services said the injuries to the male guard were serious, but his condition was stable when paramedics took him from the scene. The female guard was also taken from the scene in stable condition.
GardaWorld issued a statement that said the guards were “safe and in good hands.”
“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.”
Karan Singh, a clerk at a convenience store across the street, told CTV Edmonton that he was working at the rear of the store when he heard what sounded like a blast.
“I was sitting back in the room and there were two explosions. After that, one of my customers told me that down the street there were people screaming out there.”
Early-morning commuters were being asked to avoid the area while police investigated.
This is the second explosion at an Edmonton bank in about three months.
Early on the morning of Sept. 19, police were called to a south-end RBC branch after an improvised explosive device, also known as an IED, went off inside the bank’s vestibule.
Police said at the time that two security guards had just arrived at the bank when the blast happened. Both were treated at the scene, then taken to hospital for precautionary reasons.
Investigators treated the explosion as an attempted robbery, but no money was stolen.
There have been at least two other dramatic heists in the city.
In July 2016, a robbery suspect was shot and killed during a botched heist in which two thieves used pepper spray at a TD Canada Trust. The other robber got away.
In June 2012, an overnight crew of five armed guards employed by security company G4S was reloading ATM machines on the University of Alberta campus when one of the guards opened fire. Three of his co-workers were killed and the fourth was seriously injured.
Travis Baumgartner fled with thousands of dollars in cash, but was arrested a day later while trying to enter the United States at a border crossing in British Columbia. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 40 years.
GardaWorld is the largest privately owned security services company in the world with some 45,000 employees and clients.
(CTV Edmonton, The Canadian Press)
The Canadian Press