Movie robberies don’t always work in real life

Hole in the office floor above the bank vault

Toronto-area police say they have foiled a Hollywood-style heist, arresting five men they say camped out in vacant office space above a bank branch and, under cover of night, cut through a thick concrete ceiling to gain access to the vault below.

Halton Regional Police arrested the men with $293,000 jammed into two hockey bags after discovering them hiding in a field not far from a Toronto-Dominion Bank branch in Burlington, Ontario.

Police spokesman Sgt Dave Cross said the elaborate caper – in which the men allegedly covered the office windows to make it look like they were doing renovations – was likely a first for the bedroom community of 175,000, a few miles west of Toronto…

He said police responded to alarms at the bank early on Monday, but found the exterior doors locked when they arrived and saw no signs of disturbance.

As they looked around the immediate area, a police dog led them to the five suspects, who were hiding in a wooded area with the bags full of cash, rare coins, and jewelry.

When police entered the bank, they found a gaping hole in the ceiling. They later found three vehicles nearby containing sledge hammers, concrete cutting saws, rappelling equipment and an acetylene torch, which police say were used in the robbery…

Police said the alleged thieves managed to bypass the bank’s main alarm system, but tripped a secondary alarm as they were leaving.

John Hickey, 44, Aldo Simoni, 31, Alexander Papic, 48, Mentor Vishjay, 36, and Besim Rugova, 32, all face charges of break, enter and commit, and possession of break-in instruments, police said.

TD Bank spokesman Mohammed Nakhooda said the bank was working to contact affected customers and said it has robust security procedures with multiple layers and backstops.


Umbrella, not gun, brought mall evacuation, SWAT teams

Police responded in force today to a report of a man with a rifle at a mall, evacuating shoppers and calling in a SWAT team as worried workers locked themselves into stores. But it turned out that the man was only carrying an umbrella.

Police said the umbrella, which had a samurai sword-style handle, did look like a rifle, and they didn’t fault those at the Burlington Mall who had reported the man…

“I’d do it all over again if this happened tomorrow,” said Burlington Police Chief Michael Kent, who said about 40 officers responded to the scene from his department, surrounding departments, the State Police and federal agencies such as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement…

Police raced to the mall, blocking off the parking lot as four helicopters hovered in the sky. The North East Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council SWAT team, composed of officers from area communities, was summoned.

Tigges said that once police were inside the building, they were alerted that there was surveillance video of the suspect leaving the Sears store at the mall. Police showed the video to two people who had spotted the man at the Nordstrom store. They confirmed it was the same person, and police were able to determine the object the man was carrying was an umbrella and not a rifle…

State Police also said in a statement that a man had called them to report that he was the person seen in the mall. Troopers and officers went to the area of the nearby Lahey Clinic hospital, where the man worked, and interviewed him, determining he was not a threat…

Chief Kent praised the man, whom he would not identify, saying he had helped to bring the crisis to quicker end by contacting police. “We appreciate that he put an end to it a lot sooner,” he said. The man still has his umbrella.

Yes, this is the mall where they filmed the movie “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”

Faking cancer for cash!

A miracle? Not really…

Canada — A Burlington woman who police say pretended to have cancer to raise money for herself appeared briefly in a Milton court Monday morning. Ashley Anne Kirilow is facing three counts of fraud under $5,000.

On Saturday, Kirilow’s father said he had no plans to post bail for his estranged daughter and no family members were present at her bail hearing.

Because no one showed up to act as her surety, Kirilow’s bail hearing was put over until Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. to give her more time to secure bail money.

Kirilow appeared briefly in court dressed in a pale, peach-coloured frock and blue runners. Her light brown hair, now grown out, was tucked behind her ears…

Jackie Musial, 21, came from Oakville with her friend Meredith Dejonge, 25, to attend Kirilow’s bail hearing in Milton.

Both women say they were friends with Kirilow and were stunned to learn they had been lied to.

The two women aren’t exactly sure why they felt compelled to attend Kirilow’s bail hearing but they both wanted to see the woman they once considered a friend…

Musial said she never suspected Kirilow might have been lying about her illness. The woman was a convincing patient, she said, and would frequently update her Facebook status from the “hospital” or end online conversations by saying she had to go for a chemotherapy treatment…

But now, Musial wants nothing to do with Kirilow. “Everyone’s going to know her as the girl who faked cancer,” she said.

It’s hard to escape when it’s tattooed on her hands,” she added, referring to the markings Kirilow had tattooed on her hands in tribute to her alleged cancer.

Folks, I’m a firm believer in charity. Please, check out who and what you’re giving your money to!

Burlington, Vermont is the healthiest city in United States

Vermont’s largest city is tops among U.S. metropolitan areas by having the largest proportion of people — 92 percent — who say they are in good or great health.

It’s also among the best in exercise and among the lowest in obesity, diabetes and other measures of ill health, according to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This New England city of 40,000, on the shores of Lake Champlain, is in some ways similar to the unhealthiest city — Huntington, West Virginia. Both are out-of-the-way college towns with populations that are overwhelmingly white people of English, German or Irish ancestry.

But there the similarities end:

The cultures are significantly different, too. Bicycling, hiking, skiing and other exercises are common in Burlington. Neighborhood groups commonly focus on improving parks, working in community gardens and repairing and improving sidewalks.

And though college staples like pizza are common, healthier foods are also popular. Grass-fed beef is offered in finer restaurants, vegan options are plentiful, and the lone downtown supermarket is run by a co-op successful in selling bulk rice and other healthy choices to low-income residents.

Burlington is helped by the presence of IBM and other employers offering more generous health benefits and corporate wellness programs.

Independent left-wing politics ain’t bad either.