(file photo)

Residents of Shuswap town feel violated following string of property crimes

Incidents of trespassing, theft from vehicles, break and enter spur talk of vigilantism

While a string of break-ins have prompted an increased police presence, some Sicamous residents wish more preventative work had been done sooner.

Amber Troy’s Rauma Crescent home was recently targeted by thieves. Troy said she and her husband were awoken by their dog barking at about 5 a.m. on Oct. 1. Her husband got up to check on the house, but nothing appeared amiss. Later that they noticed Troy’s purse, which had been sitting on their kitchen table, had been taken. Presumably someone had come in through the nearby sliding glass door which was unlocked.

The early-morning intrusion has left Troy and her family feeling violated and has created a great deal of anxiety, particularly for her daughter.

Three days before Troy’s house was entered, a virtually identical crime took place on nearby Pine Street. According to the Sicamous RCMP, a break and enter through an unlocked sliding-glass door was reported to have taken place sometime in the early morning hours of Sept. 28. A woman’s purse, visible from the glass door, was taken.

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Also concerned with intrusions onto his property and those of his neighbours is Ben MacDonald. MacDonald said he scared away men trespassing on his property shortly after midnight on Sept. 27 by using the siren fitted to his CCTV system. When the men returned, MacDonald said he chased them down the street. MacDonald feels the RCMP officer who arrived didn’t do a thorough enough search for the suspect. He also said his CCTV footage of the trespassers was not taken by police.

MacDonald is also dissatisfied with the police response to a report of recent suspicious activity in his neighbourhood. He said that frustrations with property crime has led to discussions of vigilante justice among some members of the community.

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Both MacDonald and Troy have seen more police vehicles patrolling their neighbourhoods since the weekend when the crimes occured.

“It is disturbing that two residents had someone enter their their homes via an unlocked sliding glass door during the night to steal a purse. These crimes are break and enter and theft, despite the fact that the doors were unlocked. Both incidents represent a violation of a person’s home,” said Sgt. Murray McNeil of the Sicamous RCMP.

McNeil added that in addition to the break-ins, two thefts from vehicles were also reported over the weekend. CCTV footage from one of the residences where things were taken from vehicles helped police identify two youths involved in the crimes. McNeil said police have followed up informally with one of the young people, who admitted to stealing from the car; they plan to speak with the other as well.

The Sicamous RCMP is looking into a link between the thefts from vehicles, the break-ins and other incidents reported to police. McNeil said it is important for residents to deter crimes of opportunity by locking their doors and removing valuables from unattended vehicles.


@SalmonArm
jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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