Dollard hockey store bolsters security after $150,000 stick heist

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    The new Monkey Sports store in Dollard-des-Ormeaux boasted it had Canada’s largest selection of hockey gear when it opened two months ago.

    But after two recent robberies netted thieves close to $200,000 in high-end hockey sticks, the store on Brunswick Ave. could soon become known as the Fort Knox of hockey stores.

    “We’re definitely bolstering our security,” said store general manager Greg Goyer after thieves pulled off a spectacular heist on Saturday and made off with an estimated $150,000 worth of sticks.

    The heist of between 400 to 500 sticks was captured on the store’s surveillance cameras. Video shows a stealthy stick stealer scaling down a rope from the ceiling after breaking a hole through the store’s metal roof.

    “It looks like something out of an action movie,” said Goyer. “They cut a hole through the roof, which is pretty spectacular. They knew exactly where they were located in the store, right over the stick section. And they didn’t hit a metal beam, a gas pipe or electrical wires.”

    Goyer figures the thieves had to have frequented the store to have such a good understanding of where exactly to break in.

    “It seems like something someone would have to have known because they came down into an area where they weren’t captured by any of the security sensors but they were caught on video by every camera.”

    The thief is then seen methodically picking out high-performance composite sticks made by CCM, Bauer, Warrior and True. The security footage shows the thief spent an hour in the store on Saturday night, between 10 and 11 p.m.

    “He hand-picked the sticks they wanted and actually tie-wrapped them together and made bundles and stacked them up by the wall just before making their escape out the back. Everything was well-organized and well-planned,” he said.

    The store alarm was triggered when they left by the back exit, but the thieves still made a clean getaway in a white van.

    It’s the second time the massive hockey retail outlet has been the target of brazen stick thieves since it opened in mid-August.

    “We had an earlier break-in, maybe a week or 10 days after we opened,” he said. “Something similar, where an individual broke through the front window of our store and ran in with a big dumpster bag and filled it with sticks and then ran out. They probably made off with 100 to 150 sticks (with a retail value of $45,000) the first time.”

    Incredibly, Saturday night’s caper was followed by yet another break-in attempt the next night, when thieves tried to smash their way into the store through a front window. “Luckily, our security was high enough they couldn’t get through the glass,” Goyer said. “But again, the issue for us is the trouble of going through the whole ordeal again in middle of the night.”

    Police are looking into whether the break-ins are related.

    “Our investigators are trying to see if they’re connected and why two days in a row,” said Montreal police spokesperson Benoit Boisselle.

    Goyer suspects the store may have been targeted by the same group of criminals, who only seem interested in pricey composite hockey sticks that can cost as much as $300.

    The sticks are not traceable, making them easy to sell on the black market.

    “Sticks are an easy product to move,” Goyer said. “At the end of the day, sticks are expensive, and players are looking for deals. … Everybody needs a hockey stick.”

    Goyer said the thieves were not interested in $1,000 skates or $300 helmets “because they’d have to carry it all out in boxes … and that type of equipment has to be fitted, so it’s too much work to get rid of.”

    As for good old-fashioned wooden sticks? “We still have plenty of those,” said Goyer, managing a smile after several sleepless nights.

    “The thieves didn’t touch these,” he said, motioning to a rack of wooden PMP Sherwoods, listed at $34.99 apiece.

    jmeagher@postmedia.com