Suspected snowmobile thieves steal ‘everything’ from visitor

Heather Richardson will forever remember Revelstoke as the place where a lifetime of mementoes and all her personal possessions were stolen in the middle of the night.

Heather Richardson will forever remember Revelstoke as the place where a lifetime of mementoes and all her personal possessions were stolen in the middle of the night. 

She was moving from Kamloops to Alberta on Dec. 12 when a road closure on the Trans-Canada just east of Revelstoke forced her to stay the night. 

When she met her travelling companions in the parking lot of the Super 8 motel the next morning, her Ford pickup and large car-hauling trailer were gone. 

Everything she owned was inside the trailer. Electronics, furniture, heirlooms, family photos, jewellery and all the odds and ends you gather over a lifetime. “I lost absolutely everything,” she says. “All I had was the clothes I was wearing.”

The truck, trailer and its contents have not since been found. 

Richardson is very upset about the theft and the RCMP response. 

She’s been in contact with the RCMP constable who assisted her following the theft, but she’s concerned they don’t have enough info to track down her things. The RCMP wanted serial numbers, but they were stolen with the trailer. 

There weren’t any warning signs posted in the parking lots. She realizes now that thieves would assume her trailer was full of snowmobiles. RCMP do work with snowmobile groups and hotels on security initiatives, but Richardson says that didn’t help her. 

Richardson feels more could have been done and more needs to be done. 

She suggests more surveillance and following up more aggressively with the thefts. “Why isn’t there a bait truck out there?” she asks. 

Revelstoke RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Rod Wiebe says the RCMP are frustrated with the ongoing rash of snowmobile and truck thefts. He says they’ve taken appropriate steps in this investigation. But ultimately, when something disappears in the night, police options are limited.

“There’s only so many avenues we can take,” he said. “It’s frustrating for us, frustrating for them, but ultimately that’s all we can do. It’s on our Canada-wide computer system and we just hope that it gets checked somewhere,” Wiebe said of the missing truck and trailer. 

In Revelstoke, truck and snowmobile thefts in the night are ongoing. 

The Times Review has already reported about four trucks and eight snowmobiles that had been stolen between Nov. 2010 and Jan. 2011.

More have gone missing since. On Feb. 11 a trailer with two sleds inside was stolen from the Glacier House Resort. The trailer was locked, but thieves cut through it. The same night, a 2002 Ford F-250 with a sled on the back was also stolen. That truck was locked and alarmed. 

There have also been attempted thefts. In online snowmobiling discussion forums, snowmobilers talk of a jimmied door or a smashed steering column. They share their wishes to catch the thieves red-handed and mete out punishment. 

The trucks haven’t been recovered — something Cpl. Wiebe says is a new trend. Before, they’d find the truck and trailer dumped somewhere, minus the snowmobiles. 

Wiebe said RCMP believe the trucks and sleds are immediately removed from town and speculate an organized crime group based in the Okanagan are involved. Wiebe emphasizes that’s just speculation based on circumstances. 

He said RCMP have done patrols of parking lots where the snowmobilers park their trucks, including hotels, motels and lots near snowmobile area trailheads. They also do patrols on snowmobile. They leave pamphlets informing visitors of security issues and encouraging security measures. 

Beyond that, the police force runs into resource issues. Intensive surveillance operations just aren’t in the budget, Wiebe says. “The main message is, we’re like every other organization. Our resources are limited and we have to make priorities of what our members do. We’re really putting it back on the owners to make sure that you’ve done as much as you can to prevent your vehicle from being stolen,” he says, offering up suggestions beyond locks and chains, such as disabling truck engines by removing vital parts. 

Wiebe also said Revelstoke RCMP were in talks with the Lower Mainland group that runs the bait car program. The successful and much-publicized program tempts thieves by leaving bait cars in theft hot spots. Once stolen, technology built into the cars guide police to an easy arrest by disabling the car, locking its doors and providing video of the theft.  

Wiebe says it’s unlikely the program will be in place this snow season. 

In the meantime, Richardson remains unsatisfied. She tells me she’s spreading the word to snowmobilers to avoid Revelstoke because of the theft issue. Her wants are simple and clear: “Find my trailer,” she said.

Do you have more information to add to this story? Contact Aaron Orlando  at  250-837-4667 or editor@revelstoketimesreview.com.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Over the years, Janice Blackie-Goodine’s home in Summerland has featured elaborate Halloween displays and decorations each October. (File photo)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about Halloween?

Oct. 31 is a night of frights. How much do you know about Halloween customs and traditions?

Online sales are beginning to alter the traditional sales practices for real estate developments. (Contributed)
Embracing digital sales tactics in Okanagan housing market

Real estate industry’s resistance to online sales can’t last

Mara Lake is one of the significant water resources across the Okanagan-Shuswap region that will fall under increasing sustainability pressure as the anticipated population growth for the region continues in this century. (File photo)
Okanagan Valley water supply sustainability reaching a critical point: Global expert

Global expert says Okanagan Basin Water Board offers sustainable path forward

Four staff members at the Okanagan Men’s Centre have tested positive for COVID-19 since Oct. 23, 2020. (Adult and Teen Challenge OMC photo)
Four positive COVID-19 cases at Okanagan Men’s Centre

Those affected are staff and have been in isolation since Oct. 23

Vince Schnabl looks at the view this October from the Gorge, west of Revelstoke. (Photo by Jon Wichett)
There’s 3 times more snow near Revelstoke than usual

According to 54 years of data from Parks Canada for Glacier National Park

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

A rock slide is blocking one lane off the Trans-Canada Highway west of Sicamous. (Cindy Schedlosky/Facebook)
Rock slide closes one lane of Trans-Canada Highway near Sicamous

Single-lane alternating traffic is in effect.

(DiStefano Jaud Architecture)
Proposed development on Kelowna farmland raises red flags

Developer proposes gas station, car wash, liquor store, commercial buildings, in agricultural area

Hiawatha RV Park will be demolished starting in February, to make room for a new condo development. Residents have four months to leave. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘I don’t know what to do’; Kelowna RV park resident pleas for eviction extension

Hiawatha RV Park residents have four months to leave the neighbourhood

Titled “Dutch Underground - Laren 1944,” Mineke Spencer’s parents Johanna and Albert Jan Koeslag (centre) sit with their 13 children, who ranged in age from seven (Minike) to 28. Mineke is the little girl with the big white bow in the front, left, beside sister Marie, also with a white bow. (Contributed)
Fearless allies: Shuswap woman reflects on childhood in Dutch Resistance

Mineke Spencer was three-years-old when Germany invaded her home in the Netherlands

FILE - In this Jan. 23, 1987 file photo, actor Sean Connery holds a rose in his hand as he talks about his new movie “The Name of the Rose” at a news conference in London. Scottish actor Sean Connery, considered by many to have been the best James Bond, has died aged 90, according to an announcement from his family. (AP Photo/Gerald Penny, File)
Actor Sean Connery, the ‘original’ James Bond, dies at 90

Oscar-winner was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000

Several police vehicles were seen at the Sagmoen farm on Salmon River Road in Silver Creek on Thursday night, Oct. 29, 2020. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
UPDATE: One person arrested, released following police presence at Sagmoen farm

RCMP were at Silver Creek property where remains of Vernon woman were found in 2017

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read