Residents of a Burnaby strata complex are venting their frustration after repeatedly being targeted by thieves, with the most recent incident being a decidedly Grinchly affair.
It happened on Dec. 19, in the underground parkade of a building near Jersey Street and Kingsway. The theft? Food bank donations from the back of a car.
The most recent victim, who asked not to be identified out of concern she might be targeted, said the building has been hit regularly for years by persistent thieves who continue to find new ways to get in — breaking into cars, often for objects of little or no value.
“A lot of my neighbours don’t have a lot of cash to spend on a deductible, and some people have been broken into three or four times,” she said.
“And it’s for things that are not a lot of of value. Sometimes it’s a quarter in the glove compartment, and once it was a bag of bird seed. In this case, it was my daughter’s food bank donation, so we’re literally talking about cans of beans.”
But this time, the thief wasn’t as clever as he thought he was. The victim had recently purchased a dash cam, which recorded the entire incident.
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In the video, a man can be seen peering through the back window of the vehicle, before smashing it and pulling out the groceries. The vehicle’s owner says he also broke into a second car, stealing more food.
“We don’t know that this person is responsible for all — or any — previous break-ins here, that’s for police to sort out if they can ever catch this guy,” she said. “But it is the first time we’ve got video of anyone’s face.
“I would never deny somebody food if they were hungry. But he did not break into our parkade looking for food, he broke in and took whatever he could see.”
Strata council president Norm Leech said residents are becoming fed up with the problem, which is getting expensive.
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He said a thief recently cut their way through the aluminum bars of the parking lot’s gate. When the strata patched it with a metal screen, the thieves managed to break it out of the frame.
“It comes and goes in clusters of break-ins and thefts. But most of the residents realize now not to keep anything in their cars,” he said.
“Every call out is, we’re looking at $500, just to double check everything. Now we’re probably going to have to invest in security cameras, and that’s going to cost a few thousand dollars.”
The most recent incident, like those before it, has been reported to police.
Burnaby RCMP did not make someone available to Global News on Sunday to discuss the issue.
However, Leech said he’s hopeful the video help get results.
“The penalty that they’re going to pay when he gets caught — because we have good pictures of him, he’s going to get caught, he’s going to get charged — was it worth it for two bags of groceries?” Leech said.
“I doubt it.”