A rash of summer break-ins, possibly committed by a team of thieves, has West Vancouver police warning homeowners to be extra careful about locking up.
Between July 11 and August 6, the West Vancouver Police Department investigated 17 break-ins in beachfront homes, all between 15th and 27th Street.
“We think there’s a team, or certainly the same people responsible,” said Cpl. Fred Harding, a spokesman for the force.
All the burglaries have happened between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The thieves have made their way into the houses through unlocked back doors or second story windows, and have used ladders and patio furniture to reach upper levels. They have made off with laptops, jewelry, iPads and cash, said Harding.
“It seems that people are leaving the house for a short while, maybe running to the shops or taking the dog for a walk . . . and they come back and find their house broken into,” said Harding. “Which would indicate a pattern of people maybe watching the homes.”
While the type of crime isn’t unusual for the area, said Harding, the high number of incidents is. The fact that West Vancouver has one of the lowest crime rates in Canada can make some residents complacent about setting alarms and locking up properly, he said.
“They think it will never happen to them,” said Harding. “They’ve set their alarm hundreds and hundreds of times, and nothing has ever happened.”
Harding encourages West Vancouver residents to call police if they see something out of the ordinary.
“If you’re out there walking your dog, and you see somebody who looks really out of place; if you’re closing your curtains at night, and you see a car with the engine running and the light on — it just doesn’t belong there — don’t worry about trying to find the non-emergency number. Just call 911.”