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A man who stole a backhoe to break down the wall of a car wash to get at the coin machine was chased down by a snowplow driver and later arrested after police followed his tracks in the snow.

The backhoe was stolen from a construction site in the St. Clair Ave. W. and Lansdowne Ave. area around 2 a.m. Wednesday, Toronto police Staff Sgt. Mark Tilley said.

The suspect drove about 4 kilometres to a coin car wash along Dundas St. W., near Durie St.

"He used the backhoe to smash into the coin wash wall," Tilley said. "He worked at it, and he picked out - with the tractor - the coin change machine."

The suspect was then spotted by a snowplow driver clearing roads nearby. The driver called police, while pursuing the fleeing tractor at a snail's pace. The thief abandoned the vehicle on a nearby side street, leaving the change machine as well.

"No doubt they thought it was very unusual to see someone smashing into a wall," Tilley said.

Once police arrived, they took a traditional approach to the search, following a set of footsteps from the scene that led to the arrest of a man.

Tilley said it's not the first time someone has used a stolen vehicle to break into a building for cash.

"It's a little different, but it does happen. They do it with other vehicles, with ABMs and what not," he said.

The 37-year-old man will appear in court today on three charges, including theft over $5,000 and mischief.
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