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Kelowna RCMP investigating 16 cases of mischief to fire lockboxes throughout city

A map of Kelowna showing where some residential fire lockboxes were tampered with. Kelowna RCMP

Police in Kelowna say they’re investigating mischief to emergency lockboxes on the exterior of some residential properties in the city.

According to the RCMP, the lockboxes contain keys and fobs that firefighters can use to access the building in case of emergencies.

Police say the Kelowna Fire Dept. contacted them on March 10, and reported that since February, they had received reports from property managers of damaged fire lockboxes, with keys and fobs being stolen in some cases.

“After receiving this report from the Kelowna Fire Department, the Kelowna RCMP began an investigation into these incidents,” RCMP said in a press release on Thursday.

The RCMP said the fire department received reports of 16 incidents where fire lockboxes were tampered with.

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“Of the 16 incidents, nine were incidents of mischief with damage caused to lockboxes and seven resulted in thefts of keys stolen from the lockboxes,” said police.

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“The fire lockboxes are not owned by the fire department, they are owned by the buildings,” said Paul Johnson, fire prevention officer for the Kelowna Fire Department.

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Johnson said the fire department, in partnership with the city, is sending letters to the property owners, advising them of the damage.

“The letter includes information about how to update the locks on their existing lockbox, where to purchase a new lockbox and tips on how to enhance security to reduce unauthorized entry,” said Johnson.

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The fire department noted one suspicious incident on March 8, where an unknown male suspect was seen tampering with a lockbox on a residential building on Houghton Road, between 8 and 9 a.m.

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The fire department said witnesses reported that the suspect appeared to be well dressed and greeted people as they walked past.

“We are working closely with our partners at the Kelowna Fire Department,” said RCMP Cpl. Tammy Lobb.

“We encourage property managers to check their lockboxes for signs of tampering and if access has been gained, report it to the fire department as well as police.

“If you see anyone accessing the fire lockboxes, ask them for identification. Both fire department personnel and locksmiths will carry identification. Non-authorized persons should be reported to the RCMP immediately.”

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Anyone who may have information regarding these incidents is asked to contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300 Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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