UPDATE: Ucluelet police make arrest in connection to crime spree

UPDATE: Ucluelet police make arrest in connection to crime spree

At least five vehicles rummaged through.

Police arrested a 23 year-old man on Monday in connection to a rash of thefts that hit Ucluelet last week.

Const. Jarett Duncan of Ucluelet RCMP told the Westerly News that the man is not a local resident.

“I want to make sure that the community knows that it was their information that led us to him, so we’d like to thank the community for stepping forward,” Duncan said. “We’re still actively investigating other thefts at this time, so we want to make sure that anyone that’s been possibily a victim, but hasn’t reported it yet, to contact the detachment and let us know.”

Police received five reports of vehicles being broken into and rummaged through between Feb. 21-23, according to Duncan who said cash was stolen along with credit cards and a first aid kit. The victims included a local councillor and a volunteer society that offers transportation to out-of-town medical appointments.

“What we’re finding is that whoever is responsible are taking advantage of people who are leaving their doors unlocked,” Duncan told the Westerly prior to the arrest. “There is no damage to any of these vehicles, so they are not forcing their way into the vehicles…It looks like someone is walking around past vehicles and trying handles and, basically, if anyone left their door unlocked, those are the individuals that are going to be victimized.”

Duncan said the thefts should remind locals to lock up and never leave valuables inside their vehicles.

“It’s one of those things where you wish you could trust everyone,” he said. “Lock up your vehicles, hide your valuables and report anything suspicious that you see to us.”

He added neighbourhoods should be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police.

“It’s always good for us to know sooner than later because it’s harder for us to put those pieces together after the fact,” he said. “If anything does happen in your neighbourhood, inform your neighbours as well…Any suspicious behaviour, vehicles that don’t fit the area, people that don’t fit the area, report it to the police as soon as possible.”

One of the vehicles rummaged through belonged to Ucluelet councillor Sally Mole.

Mole had taken her son to the USS basketball game on Feb. 22 and when she returned to her car the next morning, she could tell someone had been in it and realized her wallet was missing.

She eventually found her wallet in some bushes, though any cash that had been inside was gone.

Mole said she had never had anything stolen from her vehicle in Ucluelet before.

“When I reported it, I heard other stories of other people that had left their cars unlocked or had other incidents and I was relieved in part because it wasn’t just me, I wasn’t targeted,” she said. “But also, it was a bit of a cranky thing because obviously it’s happening in our neighbourhood.”

She added that she plans to organize a meeting with her neighbours.

“It made me think that we need to be knowing our neighbours a bit more and being connected better,” she said. “We need to watch each other’s backs and just support each other. It’s an awful thing that happened and I feel like I want to have a big cry or a big rant or something and without your neighbours being with you then you’re kind of on your own and I don’t like that.”

The thief, or thieves, also hit a Wheels for Wellness van parked outside volunteer driver Carolyn Corlazzoli’s home, taking a bag that contained four envelopes of donations.

“There is some people without conscious in the community that are praying on people,” Corlazzoli said. “Lock your doors. Lock your vehicles. The next step might be to come into our homes.”

The Wheels for Wellness Society provides transportation to anyone who otherwise could not make it to their out-of-town medical appointments.

Corlazzoli has been a volunteer driver for the society for two years and said she was on her way to pick up a client en route to West Coast General Hospital in Port Alberni on Friday morning when she realized the bag of donations was gone.

“[The thief] came up to the top of our driveway and scored because it was not locked. It’s totally my fault. I’m assuming all responsibility for it,” she said.

Corlazzoli said she spoke to the West Coast’s two other volunteer drivers to get an understanding of how much money was in the envelopes, so that she could reimburse what was lost.

Anyone interested in supporting the Wheels for Wellness program can do so through the organization’s website at www.wheelsforwellness.com.

Police solved a similar string of thefts last winter.