Theft ring continues to target Castlegar

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
April 30th, 2010

People are coming to Castlegar from out-of-town to get the equipment and goods they need – but local business owners are thinking it’d sure be nice if these folks paid for what they took.

A string of thefts of heavy equipment, trailers and vehicles from places like Trowelex, Brandt Tractor and White Construction is revealing a years-long trend that continues to frustrate locals and police alike… the most recent victims being White Construction, where an excavator, two vehicles and a trailer were stolen during the night of April 28.

Castlegar RCMP Cpl. Mike Mysko, head of the city’s new Crime Reduction Unit, has been investigating these thefts for some time, and has some solid theories about what’s going on.

“In my opinion, it’s the same group of individuals that have been stealing from Trowelex and Brandt Tractor,” he said, explaining the culprits show up here, likely with a shopping list in hand and buyers already in place for the items they steal. “They’re very selective in what they take, leaving plenty of expensive equipment that’s right there for the taking.”

Wednesday’s theft from White Construction was just one more in a long laundry list of similar thefts in the area, and the two vehicles stolen that night have already been recovered.

The dump truck was recovered here in town and the pick-up truck was found in Kelowna – again, an M.O. consistent with previous thefts.

Mysko said he thinks the theives may dump the valuable vehicles because they’re “harder to dispose of” (they have VIN numbers and would be driven in full public view), whereas equipment like the excavator would likely be used on private property and would thus be subject to less scrutiny.

He also said Castlegar isn’t the only community being targeted for this kind of theft.

“An identical excavator was stolen in Vernon, overnight on April 26, and in Enderby, there was also a brand-new, 14,000lb trailer stolen,” he said. “I certainly believe it’s all related.”

He said he can’t give out details on police efforts to catch the culprits, but the investigation continues.

Categories: General