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Bedroom communities can’t escape criminals’ notice

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Recent home break-ins during daylight hours have put Sanford residents on alert.

Residential alarm companies are benefiting as Sanford home owners opt for added security after their homes were broken into within the past few months.

Kim Thomas said she’d only been away from her house for a few hours the morning of Oct. 1, 2013, but that was enough time for thieves to break in and take jewelry and other small items. She was surprised that her iPad was left on the kitchen table, but was most concerned about the negative effect the break-in had on her dog.

"I could hear our dog when I got to the door," she said, adding that the pet was making an awful noise like he had his paw stuck.

When she entered the house, she found the dog cowering on a couch, then she
noticed a bedroom light was on and discovered evidence of the break-in.

Not knowing if the thieves had left the house or not, she ran to her neighbour’s house. The neighbour told her that he’d heard a loud bang about mid-morning but hadn’t looked out to see if the noise was coming from her place.

"I felt totally creeped out," Thomas said. "The thief was in my bedroom."

She called the Headingley RCMP detachment. She said she asked the police officer who came to investigate if there had been any other break-ins in the town, and he said no.

However, after checking with other Sanford residents, she found out that another house across the river had been broken into and there were other incidents.

Grace Matel and Walter Schroeder were vacationing last month when their Sanford home was broken into after their daughter left one morning to attend university in Winnipeg. Matel said their doors were locked.

The day she spoke to The Headliner, a security system was being installed in the family’s home.
Matel said she’s most upset about losing her jewelry since some of it can’t be replaced.

"I’d like to see these guys caught," she said.

Another family’s dogs were hit with a baseball bat then left outside during a break-in that occurred during the daytime at a house located outside Sanford in November.
The homeowner said RCMP officers also said that they weren’t aware of other local break-ins.

When asked about the frequency of residential break-ins in the Sanford area, Headingley RCMP Cpl. Ron McDonald said this type of criminal activity isn’t uncommon, and people should take steps to protect their property (see sidebar).

During the past few weeks, Thomas and other crime victims have worked to raise local residents’ awareness and the need to look out for each other. They have put up posters with information on the break-ins in local businesses and the post office.

She would like to see the Headingley police cruise around Sanford streets more often.
"There doesn’t seem to be much of a police presence in town," she said.

Matel said she thinks the RM of Macdonald should step up and inform people about the need for vigilance in light of the break-ins, but deputy reeve Doug Dobrowolski said it’s not a municipal matter.

He said council has discussed the break-ins and they would also like to have the local RCMP drive through town.

Facebook.com/TheHeadlinerWPG
Twitter: @CanstarHeadline

Take steps to protect your property

Headingley RCMP’s Cpl. Ron McDonald said Winnipeg thieves definitely target bedroom communities. His detachment is working with others located outside the city to try to identify any common elements in the criminal activities in their areas.
He offers the following advice for rural homeowners:

• Lock your doors and vehicles.
• Install an alarm system.
• Lock up your valuables.
• Record the serial numbers of your electronic equipment.
• Take photos of your valuables and engrave your name on items.

"The serial numbers are a huge thing, as we can put them on the Canadian Police
Information Centre, and when any police agency runs a serial number on a device it will notify them it was stolen from our area or the area where the break and enter or the theft
occurred," he wrote in an email message.

 —Geary

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