Vancouver Police busted a theft ring and recovered a stash of stolen construction equipment, but contractors in Regina are being hit by a series of thefts in neighbourhoods with houses and buildings under construction.
“Many of these victims were independent contractors, who lost work from the theft of their tools,” said Phil Ens, detective constable with the Vancouver Police Auto Crime Enforcement Unit.
“The tools were their livelihood and without them they could not fulfill contracts and could not support their families.”
A six-week investigation has resulted in the arrest of four suspects and two large vans of recovered stolen property from the construction equipment theft ring.
The police identified a suspect and a vehicle believed to be involved in the crimes, while investigating a rash of commercial and residential break-and-enters that targeted high-end construction equipment and tools.
The break-ins took place in houses under construction and garages, and included thefts from vehicles, in Vancouver and Richmond in the early morning hours.
The suspects then sold the property online on Craigslist.
They would not leave a contact number and insisted the buyer leaves their phone number for the suspects to call back.
For this reason, the police monitored Craigslist and identified several of the suspect’s ads, which led to the execution of two search warrants for houses in Burnaby and Richmond. With assistance from the Richmond RCMP Property Crime Team, the Vancouver Police found and seized the stolen property, including a 2011 Triumph Daytona motorcycle, a Gio electric bike and thousands of dollars in construction equipment.
Ten victims have already been identified as the owners of the recovered property, but the owners for much of the construction equipment haven’t been identified.
There are first names and initials on many of the tools and the police want help from the public to find the owners.
Police will be requesting charges against four suspects for break and enter, possession of stolen property, theft and trafficking in stolen property.
Regina Police recently reported there have been 51 reported break-and-enters to newly constructed homes at various locations around the city since January.
“These homes usually are broken into by the front or back door, causing damages to the door and allowing thieves access to the building,” said a Regina Police press release.
“Once inside tools and building materials are then stolen.”
Between Nov. 15-17 there were nine incidents, with eight in Harbour Landing developments and one in The Greens on Gardiner.
Regina Police are asking for the public’s assistance in solving these crimes by keeping a look out for anything suspicious, such as a loud noise in the night, a vehicle that doesn’t belong on a street or someone’s dog is barking at something.
The spike in the number of break and enters at construction sites seems related to Regina’s building boom.