Thieves leave swath of damage, delay Clements Centre program launch

A break-in at the Clements Centre over the weekend has caused a setback for a major initiative the society was preparing to launch.

A break-in at the Clements Centre over the weekend has caused a setback for a major initiative the society was preparing to launch.

The centre, located on Clements Street, provides a wide range of services for adults and children with developmental needs and disabilities. A new program, the Mindful Mouthful, was just getting underway, set to offer a line of meat pies, cookies and other food items, similar to those formerly sold at the centre’s luncheon service. Participants in the program will be paid for their work.

The break-in, however, will delay the launch of the Mindful Mouthful. While ransacking the site, thieves raided a locked display freezer. While they only took a few meat pies, they compromised the freezer and the safety of its contents.

“We have to throw out most of the product in the freezer because we are concerned about the quality of the product,” Clements Centre executive director Dominic Rockall said. “It’s really frustrating when we are on the verge of launching the business.”

The product that will have to be thrown out includes at least 50 meat pies and 16 bags of cookies, Rockall said.

The break-in was discovered on Monday when a janitor reported for work, and immediately reported to police.

“It’s a violation,” Rockall said. “You feel angry and disappointed. We get so much support from the community, it’s even more disappointing when this happens. There are negative elements in all communities, but when they impact you, it’s very disappointing.”

The thieves took other items besides the handful of meat pies from the freezer, but Rockall could not elaborate on what was gone. They also left a trail of damage where they broke in.

“Aside from what they stole, it’s a ton of work to pick up the pieces,” Rockall said.

Cpl. Krista Hobday said that the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP are investigating the matter.

“Our forensic unit has attended and completed their examination of the scene, and we await their report,” she said. “We are utilizing all investigative techniques available to us to solve this unfortunate loss to the Clements Centre.”

Fortunately, the incident did not cause any disruption to the Clements Centre’s programs, other than the Mindful Mouthful.

“They can take stuff,” Rockall said. “But they can’t affect how we serve the people that we support.”