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Theft from vehicles spikes in West Kelowna

Three drivers have been charged with stunting. .
Three drivers have been charged with stunting. . File/Global News

RCMP are reminding residents in West Kelowna to lock their vehicles and remove all valuables as thefts are on the rise.

“RCMP in West Kelowna have noticed a dramatic increase in reports received of theft from vehicles,”  Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said.

Between Jan. 1 and July 31 of this year, there have been 175 files relating to theft from vehicles.  In 2016, during that same time period,  119 files were generated, an increase of 47 per cent.

While the majority of the thefts have been reported in the city’s downtown core, they have occurred throughout West Kelowna.

Police said residents should be mindful that no residential neighbourhood is immune to the crime.

West Kelowna RCMP Crime Map showing a total of 50 thefts from Auto reports to police during the period of June 26, 2017 to Aug. 6, 2017
West Kelowna RCMP Crime Map showing a total of 50 thefts from Auto reports to police during the period of June 26, 2017 to Aug. 6, 2017 RCMP

“In at least one case, the suspect(s) stole the victims drivers licence, birth certificate, credit cards, SIN card and even their passport, which not only opens up that person from being further victimized through identity theft and fraud, but also poses significant challenges for them to obtain replacement forms of identification,”  O’Donaghey said.

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The RCMP continue to find that most of the reported thefts were to vehicles with unlocked doors, often with valuables left inside in plain sight.

The following are typical items stolen from vehicles:

• purses;
• wallets;
• credit cards;
• personal identification, which includes Passports;
• GPS devices;
• house or other automotive keys;
• cash or currency, which includes loose change;
• clothing and sunglasses;

Police are asking the public to report any suspicious activity they may see around vehicles.