Police are dealing with a sudden spike in residential and commercial break and enters across Nanaimo.
Mounties report that thieves have racked up 34 B&Es since March 15.
Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said the detachment’s Property Crimes Unit has been working on the problem and identified a number of suspects believed to be responsible for the break-ins.
“Some are working independently and some are working in groups,” O’Brien said.
Factors contributing to the sudden rise in break-ins include warming spring weather, which makes it easier for thieves to work at night, and new criminals who specialize in B&Es migrating to Nanaimo, while others have been released from prison and regressed to their former ways.
“They fall back into their drug addiction cycle and they have to support their habits,” O’Brien said.
The incidents range from Chase River to north Nanaimo, but north Nanaimo break-ins have targeted computer equipment in residences and businesses, presumably for the purposes of identity theft.
People are advised to store laptop computers out of sight when they leave their homes and businesses.
Residences were primarily targeted during the daytime when homeowners are away at work.
Businesses are being hit at night, but in some cases thieves were not concerned about how much time they took or how much noise they generated. A case in point is the recent break-in at Mark’s Work Warehouse on Metral Drive where the culprit used a reciprocating saw to cut through an exterior wall.
O’Brien said some blame can be attributed to property and business owners’ lack of diligence. He cites one commercial break-in in which the thief intentionally set off alarms and managed to get away with the goods because no one alerted police to the alarm.
“We actually watched a video surveillance where the alarm went off – the guy went in, activates the alarm,” O’Brien said. “He runs out again and waits a few minutes for a response from the police. There was no police response because they didn’t report it to us. This went on for 15 minutes, back and forth, until he finally ripped them off.”
Sheds, garages, storage compounds and other facilities are also being hit.
O’Brien said police will soon be in a position to make arrests and issue warrants for suspects and properties where stolen goods might be stored, but he stressed that property owners need to maintain a keen awareness of what is going on around their neighbourhoods and businesses and report alarms, suspicious vehicles, individuals and activity to police and provide descriptions of the individuals and vehicles.
“We take this very seriously, but we can’t do this alone,” O’Brien said. “We need help from the public.”