Here's one for the books...

Thief hidden in box used glass cutter in 200 robberies:

Toronto police have charged three people in connection with elaborate break-ins targeting fast-food operations.

Police say the trio are suspects in more than 200 robberies across the GTA that involved the culprits using high-tech surveillance and a low-tech tool: a cardboard box.

Since November 2006, fast-food restaurants from Toronto to Waterloo were targeted, with the thieves sneaking inside, bypassing alarm systems and making off with lots of cash, police said.

Insp. Brian Smollet of the Toronto Police Service said the criminals used highly sophisticated surveillance equipment and glass-cutting tools. But the genius behind the break-ins was the gang's low-tech tool: a large cardboard box.

Police say the thieves would simply prop the three-sided cardboard box against the front door of the business they were targeting. Anyone walking by would never have known anything was amiss. Little did they know there was a thief inside the box, cutting his way through the glass in the front door.

"You know they would cut out the glass, slide in, and sometimes they wouldn't even stand up until they got to where they wanted to go," said Smollet.

"They would slither along the floor in case there was motion sensors. They would get to where they wanted to go, stand up, take what they need and back out. And by the time they set the alarm off, if they did set if off, if they didn't happen to defeat that alarm, they'd be long gone.

"The concealment, I mean, no one would think someone would be hiding in a box," said Smollet.

Police say more than $250,000 has been recovered.

The investigation took more than a year and involved police from five jurisdictions around Toronto.

Police have charged Gordon Michael Edwards, 27, Jason Richard Phillips,

25, and Donna Hofscheier, 23, all of Toronto, with 355 charges in connection with the break-ins.
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Frank Olson
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