VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Three boys barely into their teens are suspected of robbing seven bank over six weeks, handing the teller a note in each case and using the city's elevated train to make their getaway.
Police did not disclose how much money was taken and did not identify the boys, though Cpl. Roger Morrow said none of the three had previous run-ins with police.
The two 14-year-olds and one 13-year-old were arrested last weekend after a holdup at a bank in their hometown of Surrey, a suburb south of the city. All three were home with their parents Tuesday after being charged with bank robbery — one with two counts and the others with a single count each. A hearing was set for May 24 in youth court.
The holdups appeared well-planned and executed over a large area, indicating considerable discipline for such young suspects, said Ray Corrado, a Simon Fraser University criminologist in Burnaby.
"The typical youth that engages in this type of serious offense is often impulsive, opportunistic, angry, and they typically talk a lot to their buddies and it gets out fairly quickly," he said, "whereas this seems to have been almost a movie-like mimicking, where they planned and were able to carry it out much like you would see in a prime-time movie or something like that."
In each case, tellers were handed a note, but there was no indication the young robbers were armed, investigators said.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police investigators believe the boys may be involved in as many as seven holdups in Surrey, Vancouver and Burnaby, Morrow said.
He said they apparently used SkyTrain, Vancouver's elevated rapid transit line, to get to banks near stations and to flee afterward. They were arrested at a SkyTrain location, he said.
"I still cannot for the life of me comprehend at the age of 13 ... ever considering doing something like this," Morrow said.