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Trail police caution against vigilantism in wake of theft spike

A spike in thefts and a resulting backlash on social media have local police cautioning residents about taking matters into their own hands.

In a press release issued Monday, Trail RCMP Sgt. Mike Wicentowich asked the public to remain vigilant, but to leave any punitive action to police.

“The Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP statistics shows that theft and theft related offence is the most common crime that occurs within this community.  This is true of most communities and typically reports of theft far exceed the number of crimes committed in any other category.  The weekly report on thefts through the media is to provide the citizens of the Trail and Greater District community with the knowledge and tools they need to help combat theft and protect themselves from victimization in an effort to reduce the overall amount of crime. 

“Previously and recently reported to the RCMP, a few on social media are calling for acts of vigilantism and forming mobs to carry them out against those believed to be involved in criminal acts. The RCMP would like to remind those few that vigilantism does not help reduce crime nor address the deep and complex causes of crime. Acts of vigilantism are in fact a criminal act itself. Any acts of vigilantism would require a lengthy police investigation and detract from the overall goal of reducing crime and victimization. 

“The public served by the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP are responding to the campaign against theft by taken more preventative measures and calling in suspicious activities. This will result in a greater ability for the RCMP to apprehend those criminals responsible. The RCMP, Citizens-on-Patrol, the City of Trail and Rossland, the Villages of Warfield, Montrose, and Fruitvale, Kootenay Boundary Regional District, all of the RCMP stakeholders and partners, local businesses, and the public can achieve this goal together and have one of the safest communities in Canada.” 

On Aug. 13 at 5 a.m. an electronic bike battery charger, a dry bag with a wetsuit, water shoes, a hunting knife, a first aid kit, goggles and snorkel was stolen from an unlocked vehicle in the 1400 block of Fifth Avenue in Trail.

On Aug. 16, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. a Stihl 18” chainsaw was stolen from the job site at the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital located at 1200 Hospital Bench Road, in Trail.  The RCMP have identified a suspect and are following up with an investigation.

Also on Aug. 16, the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP received a report of the theft of a KHS model 650-800 mountain bike from a property located in the 2000 block of St. Paul Street, in Rossland. The mountain bike was stolen sometime between Aug. 14, 11 p.m. and Aug. 16,  at 1 p.m.  It is modified from the most recent photograph as it now has red grips, yellow pedals, and a black bike rack on the back of the bike.  (see photograph below)

On Aug. 17, at 12:58 a.m. a tent was stolen from a storage shed on a property located in the 1000 block of Green Avenue in Trail.  The RCMP are disseminating a surveillance photograph of the suspect for public awareness (IMG_0804).  If you see someone matching the description of this suspect, please contact and report it to the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP at 250-364-2566.

On Aug. 17, between 12 and 6 a.m. a Snap-on axle hub kit and Stanley stripped lug remover were stolen from a vehicle in the 1200 block of Green Avenue in Trail.

On Aug. 18, at 4:57 a.m. a male suspect was observed checking vehicle door handles in the area of Rivervale.  The male was described as white, skinny, in his late twenties or early thirties and wearing a black baseball cap, dark clothes, a black back pack, and holding a cell phone.  RCMP attended the area but could not locate the male.  Please report the sighting of anyone matching this description to the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP at 250-364-2566.

On Aug. 18, at 9 p.m. Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP received a report of a theft of a Coleman hot water on-demand water tank and a 100 watt solar panel from a shed on a property located in the area of 200 Hendry Street, in Trail, BC.

If you have any information, please contact the Trail and Greater District Detachment RCMP at 250-364-2566 or CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) if you wish to remain anonymous.