Reports of a quonset hut broken into last week in the middle of the afternoon on Agate Bay Road is just one more instance of thefts and break and enters that have been frustrating area residents since last spring.
Cpl. Steve Mancini from the Barriere RCMP Detachment reports that items taken from a break and enter on Barriere Lakes Road last week turned up in Edson, Alberta, where a group got caught last week that were doing some of the break-ins between here and Clearwater. He notes that the recently arrested individuals are part of a group that were also doing break-ins and stealing vehicles in this area last spring; they were eventually apprehended as well in Edson.
Mancini says that law enforcement believe there are at least two groups still out there that police are trying to get tabs on.
“Lately these groups are targeting off road vehicles, motor bikes, ATVs, side-by-sides, power tools, chain saws… anything that is easily saleable,” said Mancini, “This is why we are encouraging area residents to be diligent with their possessions. Lock up, let your neighbours know if you are going away, don’t leave anything unlocked or open.”
The Corporal also states the importance of people taking the time to record the serial number on their valuables and keep this record in a safe place. He tells that generators recently taken from this area turned up in Kelowna pawn shops; thanks to recorded serial numbers they were identified and able to be returned.
“Without serial numbers we are really handicapped in doing our job,” said Mancini, “Serial numbers help us to prove items have been stolen, and also gives us a chance to get stuff back to the owner.”
Asked if the thefts being experienced by local residents are specific to this area the Corporal replied, “No, it is not Barriere specifically; property crime was up in the Southeast District by 14 to 21 per cent in 2015. Other communities have the same problem.”
What about vehicles that are stolen and then found abandoned in other communities?
“The criminals are just trying to make it a little more difficult for us to keep eyes on them,” said Mancini, “For instance, snowmobiles and a trailer that were recently stolen with a truck from Agate Bay Road were quickly switched to another stolen vehicle. They use a stolen vehicle for the crime, and then dump it and use another stolen vehicle. This makes it very hard for us to identify who is hauling stolen property on the highway.”
“These criminals are very good at what they do, but we like to think that eventually they’ll come to a dead end.”