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Police arrest suspect

Concerned citizen key in identifying thief

  BREAKING NEWS   Powell River RCMP have arrested one suspect in the rash of thefts from unlocked cars.

Shane Velkjar, 18, of Powell River has been charged with a number of counts of mischief and theft under $5,000.

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, April 23, police responded to a report of a suspicious person entering yards in the area around Oliver Street and Joyce Avenue. Patrols located the suspect near Jasper Street and Marine Avenue.

Police are acknowledging that the arrest “was due in large part to the watchful eye of a concerned citizen.”

Since February, police have been hit with an unusually high number of this type of theft in Powell River, with over 20 thefts reported in the last three weeks.

Police do not believe that Velkjar is responsible for all of these thefts and are continuing their investigation.

Anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to call Powell River RCMP 604.485.6255 or CrimeStoppers at 1.800.222.TIPS (8477).

Police are reminding people to not leave valuables in their vehicles, including loose change, and to keep their vehicle doors locked.

Thieves target unlocked cars

Police ask for public assistance

Members of Powell River RCMP are investigating a rash of thefts from unlocked cars that have been happening around town recently.

On April 11 and 12 police responded to a total of 15 reports in the area between Glacier to Penticton streets. In each case, the car had items stolen from it while it was parked overnight in the owner’s driveway.

In all cases, police report that small amounts of change were taken and glove boxes had been searched. In one car, a GPS system and a camera were not touched, said Constable Chris Bakker. In others, though, small electronics were taken.

“In one car some damage was done to the vehicle as well,” he said. “A note was written on the seat that the vehicle’s owner was ‘cheap’ because there was no change inside.”

Police report that on Thursday, April 18, there were “no less than 11 incidents reported,” but this time the incidents happened in the 7600 block of Duncan Street, near Powell River airport.

“It’s an ongoing investigation,” said Bakker, “and it’s something that we’ve been dealing with a lot of recently.”

Police have noted that all of the vehicles that were broken into had been left unlocked, he added. As the break-ins are not localized to Westview, police are advising residents around the city to lock their cars at night.

“In one night we’ll have five or six incidences in one area,” he said. “Maybe one night it will happen in Townsite, then another night Cranberry. So it’s certainly not targeted to Westview.

“Make sure when you go in at night, your doors are locked,” said Bakker. “People have told me that they don’t lock their doors because they’re afraid their vehicle’s windows will be smashed and items stolen anyway, but we’re finding with this that if the vehicle is locked they aren’t being touched.”

Don’t leave valuables or change visible in the car, he added.

Police are looking for help from the public in this investigation. If anyone has information about these break-ins or sees anything suspicious in the early morning hours, they are asked to please contact the police at 604.485.6255 or 1.800.222.8477 (TIPS).