Police are investigating a string of three break-ins believed to be connected to one thief’s struggle to get indoors.
A Ford work van was stolen from outside a Rainforest Drive residence sometime between 7 p.m. Wednesday night and 7 a.m. Thursday morning, according to Sgt. Jeff Swann of the Ucluelet RCMP.
Swann told the Westerly News the stolen vehicle was located about 15 kilometres out of town on Thursday afternoon. The vehicle’s keys were inside the vehicle when it was stolen, along with tools and work equipment, according to Swann.
He said the vehicle was reported stolen around 7 a.m., and police received another report around 8:30 a.m. of a vehicle on nearby Rainforest Lane with a smashed windshield.
“Shortly after that, police were dispatched to another report of a broken window at a house under construction,” he said.
He said police believe the three incidents are related and that, after failing to gain entry into the house, the thief began searching for a vehicle to drive home.
“It was raining. It was cold. They were looking for a place to sleep,” Swann said adding nothing was taken from either vehicles or the residence.
“It appears as if somebody was looking for a ride home. They broke into a vehicle that was locked, couldn’t find any keys, then broke into a second vehicle and found keys inside the vehicle, at which point they stole that vehicle,” he said.
An investigation is underway and Swann encourages anyone with any information about the incident to contact the Ucluelet RCMP at 250-726-7773.
Swann hopes the incident serves as a reminder to locals to always lock up and never leave valuables, or keys, in their vehicles, especially with the busy season looming.
“Keep your vehicles locked, don’t leave valuables in sight in your vehicles, don’t leave spare keys in the vehicle,” he said. “With summer coming, there’s going to be a lot more people in town, a lot more tourists, a lot more crime of opportunity with more property left in cars…These are rare occurrences for police here in Ucluelet; we’d like to keep it that way, obviously.”
He said Ucluelet’s RCMP will be working closely with the recent graduates of the local Auxiliary Constable program to spread the message to locals and visitors.
“Were going to be working with our newly trained Auxiliary Constables to try to attend the local beaches and do more foot patrols and be more vigilant and try to remind people…to lock your vehicles and don’t leave valuables in sight,” he said. “We’ll be out in force trying to remind people of that before the busy season arrives.”