Return of stolen items possible, but serial numbers, records key: Winnipeg police

Click to play video: 'Avoiding property crimes'
Avoiding property crimes
Property owners tell Global News, the problem with break-ins is getting worse. Global's Iris Dyck has ways to maximize the chances of your items being returned, if you find yourself a victim of theft. – Jan 31, 2023

With arrests this week in a string of break and enters across Winnipeg, police are stressing the importance of writing down serial numbers and keeping records of high-valued items.

On Monday police announced dozens of charges against a man and a woman accused of stealing more than $80,000 worth of property from storage lockers and multi-unit dwellings throughout the city over several months.

Read more: Man, woman charged in prolific Winnipeg break-in spree

The pair are alleged to have caused more than $250,000 in property damage in 30 reported break and enters, police say.

Aaron Alblas with Prospect Property Management says he’s noticed more attempted break-ins at his properties in the past couple of years.

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg Police on protecting your property'
Winnipeg Police on protecting your property

And, he says, the thieves don’t seem too worried about the damage they’re doing in the process.

Story continues below advertisement

“In one occasion we even had the mailbox removed from the building, physically ripped off the building,” he said Tuesday.

“So, why it’s a target, I’d just have to say sensitive documents, you know, trying to find something of value.”

Read more: Police bust thief in midst of Winnipeg business break-in on New Year’s Day

Reports of property crime have been rising over the past four years, according to Winnipeg police’s online crime map.

The most recent data shows police received 49,664 reports of property crime throughout the city in the 12 months leading up to October 2022.

There were 35,846 property crimes reported over the same time period ending in October 2021 — a year that had seen a significant drop in the crimes.

Click to play video: 'Car break-ins rising in Winnipeg'
Car break-ins rising in Winnipeg

Between October 2019 and October 2020 there were 43,647 reports of property crime and 47,447 reports over the same time period leading up to October 2019, according to the police data.

Story continues below advertisement

Police spokesperson Const. Danni McKinnon tells Global News the rates of property crime like break and enters can ebb and flow along with rates of social issues, like drug use and addictions.

Read more: Reflecting on a violent 2022 for Winnipeg, notable trends and concerning issues

“Because primarily the property that is stolen, often …  it gets resold and that can be sold for as a currency for their addiction,” she said.

“Addiction is a driving factor for sure,”

While McKinnon acknowledges the reselling of stolen items can mean not everything is returned after an arrest is made, she said if police are aware of what’s been taken — and serial numbers are recorded — stolen items can often be reunited with victims of crime.

Story continues below advertisement

But she stress keeping an inventory of your items is key.

Read more: 3 people arrested in connection to 40 different apartment building thefts in Winnipeg

“Big equipment, or sporting equipment like snowmobiles, different types of trailers, it’s very important to record those serial numbers — and have them handy,” she said.

“You may have a long list. But it’s very important so when you do go to make that police report, you have that serial number.”

— with files from Iris Dyck and Teagan Rasche

Sponsored content