Multiple vehicle thefts keep Morinville RCMP busy

By Stephen Dafoe

Morinville – An overnight crime spree in Morinville had RCMP phones ringing off the hook Tuesday morning.
Sergeant Mark Mathias of the Morinville RCMP said in the last 24 hours his detachment has dealt with six stolen vehicles, three of which had been recovered by Tuesday afternoon. Additionally, the sergeant said a boat was stolen from Gibbons Tuesday afternoon and subsequently recovered.

“At each of the locations where vehicles were stolen, we’ve had reports of buildings being broken into and other vehicles being broken into but not stolen,” Mathias said. “Where we’re at right now is it is still under investigation. We are asking that anytime people see anything suspicious that they report it right away. There’s been a couple things reported after the fact, which hinders our investigation.”

The sergeant does not suspect a connection between Monday and Tuesday’s vehicle thefts and the rash of break-and-enters that have taken place in Sturgeon County earlier this month at a number of acreages. Matthias said several people have been arrested in relation to thefts and break-and-enters already. A group of three youths from the Bon Accord area have been charged with thefts as has a separate group of three people also from the Bon Accord area. Additionally, a property was searched in the Villeneuve area, resulting in the seizure of property believed to be stolen. “We have seen different people in multiple thefts that aren’t related to each other,” Matthias said. “As the weather improves, crime rates (especially property crime) traditionally go up.”

One victim of Monday night’s vehicle crime spree is Sunshine Lake resident Eva Scrimshaw. Although her sport utility was not stolen, criminals made a strong attempt to steal the vehicle. Scrimshaw said she left the vehicle locked around 10 p.m. July 23 and left for work Tuesday morning around 7:45 a.m.

“When I left for work I noticed it was all open,” she said of her truck. “They popped the lock on the passenger side door and then they dismantled and tore apart my steering column and deck to try and hotwire it. They were unsuccessful at that. Then they just stole everything of value from out of the inside.”

Taken from her truck were her subwoofers, CDs and other items. “They even looked through my daughter’s purse which is clearly a child’s purse,” she said. “I’ve been violated. I feel like somebody went through my personal belongings in my vehicles, taking my possessions that meant something to me.”

Scrimshaw said she heard from neighbours an F150 pick-up and a Volkswagen Jetta were stolen from the same house a block from where she lives. Police are not yet saying what vehicles were stolen or what vehicles have been recovered. As to her possessions, Scrimshaw has little hope the property will be found and returned.

Although Scrimshaw’s truck was in her well-lit driveway, she will be taking additional precautions in the future. “We’re going to have to keep it in the garage every day,” she said. “Everything was hidden and locked up. It’s not like it was exposed.”

Sergeant Mark Matthias encourages residents to take precautions in securing their property. “Lock your vehicles,” he advises. “Don’t store keys or any spare keys in your vehicles. Don’t store valuables in your vehicles, and park them in places that are well lit and visible. Vehicles that are hidden and out of sight from your home are easier targets.”

The series of thefts is still under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Morinville RCMP at 780-939-4550.

Above: A Sunshine Lake resident was lucky thieves were unable to hotwire and steal her vehicle July 23; however, a number of valuables were stolen from the truck. – Submitted photos

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