Lake Cowichan plagued by thefts through January and February

Thus far, 2014 has been unkind to Lake Cowichan residents opting to keep their valuables insecure in their cars or even locked in their outbuildings.

Thefts have plagued the lakeside community during the last two months. “Lake Cowichan RCMP are cautioning the citizens of Lake Cowichan to lock their unoccupied vehicles and take extra precaution in safeguarding their personal property in their residences and their yards,” detachment commander Sgt. Wes Olsen told press.

The most recent incident occurred sometime after midnight on Feb. 23 when thieve(s) used a crowbar to break into the St. Christopher’s Anglican Church on Cowichan Avenue West.

A small sum of money was stolen.

Olsen noted that most of the offences are occurring in the early morning hours, between midnight and 5 a.m. Three break-ins, however, to residences along Grant’s Lake Road occurred during the day, when the homeowner was out of the house for just a short period of time. “Thieves are targeting small change, electronics and tools from the unlocked vehicles, hand and power tools from sheds and outbuildings and cash and jewelry from the residences,” Olsen said.

Unlocked vehicles are quick and easy for thieves but they haven’t been shy about cutting locks of forcing their ways into secure sheds, outbuildings and residences and grabbing what they can carry away on foot or with their bicycles.

Olsen did note one irregularity in that trend – the Feb. 10 theft of a set of four tires on chrome rims from a shed in the 200 block of Grant’s Lake Road. No doubt a vehicle was needed for that one. More than one group of criminals may be at work, police figure, based on the different MO’s of the various thefts. Police also believe sometimes one criminal is suspected and other times multiple thieves seem to be working in concert.

“Lake Cowichan RCMP would like to remind the community to be vigilant in safeguarding their personal belongings in their vehicles, residences and outbuildings and to report any suspicious activity to police no matter what the time of day,” Olsen said.

He suggests recording the serial numbers from items to help police track recovered stolen property and link it with its rightful owner.

Keeping an eye out for suspicious activity also goes a long way.

“Detailed suspect descriptions including what they are wearing and vehicle descriptions with license plate numbers are very helpful to police for when the public calls in suspicious activity or vehicles,” Olsen said. Those with information about these or any other crimes are asked to call the Lake Cowichan RCMP at 250-749-6668 or report anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).