A pattern is starting to emerge in a string of ATM thefts across Alberta, according to an Edmonton criminologist. The perpetrators, who he believes come from two different groups, appear to be targeting locations where there are few police resources.

The latest theft, which took place early Monday morning in the town of Lamont, was captured on video by Mitchell Trenholm and his friend.

The two silently recorded a video of the suspects, who used a tractor to smash through the front entrance of a Servus Credit Union. Trenholm said his heart was pounding as he recorded the brazen act.

"We didn't know what they were going to do if they knew that we were watching," he said. "It was pretty scary.”

He estimates that after he called 911, the suspects remained at the scene for nearly 35 minutes before fleeing.

The nearest police detachment to Lamont is 30 kilometres away. And it's that kind of distance that criminals are thinking about as they plan their thefts, criminologist Bill Pitt believes.

"I think it's really high on their priority, I mean that's smart," Pitt told CTV Edmonton. "If you're a criminal, why would you want to stick your head in the lion's den?"

The break-in in Lamont is the latest in dozens of recent ATM thefts. Since last October, the RCMP says it has received more than 40 ATM-related calls. The thefts are all over the map.

Pitt believes that most of them are connected. "I'd say two groups are doing them all," he said.

Mounties believe that some could be connected. They told CTV Edmonton that the same getaway vehicle has been used in more than one theft.

And, just as in Lamont, a handful of thefts involved using commercial construction equipment to smash through walls to access the ATMs.

With a report from CTV Edmonton's Dan Grummett