A spike in break and enter complaints this month has prompted a warning to the public from Penticton RCMP.
Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth raised the issue this week and comes on the heels of the quarterly report presented to the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen by RCMP Supt. Kevin Hewco showing a jump in property crime.
“Without looking at the stats, just being a police officer in this town, they (break ins) are higher, they’re abnormally high right now,” said Wrigglesworth. “People should look after home security and be talking to neighbours, have neighbours watch their houses and know who’s coming and going and alarm systems and secure locks.
“One brazen person doing a break in every couple of days can make a difference but I would say it’s drug addicts in our community that are feeding their drug habit and they’re stealing stuff to support their drug habit.”
Cpl. Dan Moskaluk added there are a variety of factors resulting in increased crime and not just here, including specific individuals being released as well as economic factors.
“We also have individuals who have no qualms buying stolen property,” he said.
Items stolen from homes and businesses in just last two weeks include, computers, laptops, cameras, televisions and even a coffee maker.
Some advice from police to make it more difficult for thieves is for people to make arrangements to have mail collected and driveways shovelled while out of town.
As well, not to advertise when they are away in any fashion, including social media.
“I would suggest that if the public has suspicious people come to their front door ringing the door bell and ‘oh it’s a mistake’ or it just seems strange maybe they’re casing the place out to see if anyone is home,” said Wrigglesworth. “I would suggest reporting it to us and try and remember what the person looks like and the direction they go so we can patrol the area and find these people.”
Police also reported the arrest of a “prolific” offender last week who was charged with a number of breaches of conditions imposed as a result of a previous arrest for break and enter.
Samuel-Luc Prescott-Perreault was allegedly not at home when police conducted a curfew check and was later reportedly found behind the wheel of a vehicle on McLean Creek Road after he was recognized by a patrolling officer.
Inside the vehicle police found break-in tools (bolt cutters) and stolen property. The suspect was charged with possession of stolen property and a number of breach offences including driving while prohibited, possession of break-in tools and curfew.
He was arrested and appeared in provincial court the following day. He was released on $1,000 bail and scheduled to return to court Feb. 3.
Prescott-Perreault was charged last November in connection with a break in at Canadian Tire and two years earlier was transported to Quebec where there had a number of warrants for his arrest including break and enter and assault.