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Copied keys, stolen codes, and masks: how a five-bank heist in Langley went down

No criminal charges or sign of $460,000 six years after the Christmas Day robberies
A Brinks vehicle. (AP Photo/Yves Logghe, File)

Court documents have shed more light on how a crew of thieves made off with $463,000 from five Langley banks on one Christmas night six years ago.

The theft came to light recently due to a B.C. Supreme Court ruling on a grievance process between armoured car firm Brinks Canada Ltd., and the former employee the company believes is behind the theft. The theft was not made public by the RCMP in 2016.

No one has ever been charged in relation to the crime, and none of the court documents suggest any money has ever been recovered.

Court filings reveal that on Dec. 25, 2016, at least four people are believed to have been involved in the theft, which targeted multiple branches of an unnamed bank served by Brinks Canada Ltd.

Two of the people actually entered the banks, wearing “flush tone [sic] masks and winter clothing,” according to a filing by Brinks. They opened the ATMs and removed the cash, but got in and out without setting off any alarms.

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One of the robbers is suspected to have been an employee of Brinks, which transported cash to the banks and filled their ATMs. In court documents, the suspect employee is referred to as “the grievor” because of the ongoing union grievance battle. Brinks filed a grievance demanding he give back $463,000 plus interest, while the former employee launched a grievance over being fired in 2018, as a result of the investigation into the theft.

According to the court filings, there had been a number of incidents leading up to the robbery that led to suspicions it was an inside job, and which put the spotlight on the grievor.

On Dec. 17, 2016 someone pretending to be the suspect’s co-worker – identified as F.Y. – called Brinks’ National Client Services System to get combinations for seven ATMs. Another call was placed on Dec. 24, the day before the robbery, and again someone pretending to be F.Y., and this time getting 13 combinations.

Brinks alleged that one of the thieves who actually entered the banks was either the grievor or someone who had received inside information from him, because the robbers were “intimately familiar with the layout of the branches.”

The robbers also used confidential alarm codes, a master key for all the bank branches, 13 combinations, an imitation high-security Mas Hamilton key, and the PIN number of F.Y. Brinks does not believe F.Y. was actually involved in the robbery.

“The robbers also purposely left a certain amount of cash in each hit ABM [automatic bank machine] because they acquired knowledge from the grievor that a network error would immediately result if clients were unable to withdraw cash while the robbery was still being committed,” Brinks summary of alleged facts said.

This meant that the robberies were only discovered by the bank as cash ran out. The discoveries took place over three days, from Dec. 25 to 28, at the various bank branches.

The thieves also re-armed each branch’s alarm system before leaving. If they had not re-armed the systems, a security guard would have been dispatched to the branch.

When the banks checked their systems, they found that it was a Brinks code that had been used to disarm and re-arm the systems the night of the thefts.

Further investigation revealed that there were “anomalies” in a number of locks the grievor had accessed as part of his work between Oct. 1, 2016, to March 12, 2017. “The grievor had used a cloned or imitation Mas Hamilton key akin to the one used for the robbery,” Brinks alleges.

The grievor told his employers on May 13, 2017 that he had lost his own Mas Hamilton key.

“The grievor was the only employee who lost his Mas Hamilton key during the investigation,” Brinks says.

The court documents also mention some of the steps the RCMP have taken to try to solve the robbery, including seizing the grievor’s personal phone.

They allegedly discovered photos of the bank’s alarm codes and master keys on the phone.

“There was no legitimate reason for the grievor to have these pictures in his possession,” Brinks alleges.

The only reason to have such pictures would be to create copies of the master keys for the robbery, the company claims.

None of the claims made in the civil case have been tested in court.

The Langley Advance Times has reached out to the Langley RCMP for an update on the status of the investigation.

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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