Covering their tracks: Kamloops thieves shovel driveway while ransacking home | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Covering their tracks: Kamloops thieves shovel driveway while ransacking home

This photo was taken by Keely after finding his home broken into.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Cassie Schneider
February 07, 2020 - 4:30 PM

What a young Kamloops couple thought was a random act of kindness, turned out to be a foreshadowing for a burglary.

Cassie Schneider and Phil Keely have lived in their single-family home on Fortune Drive for almost two years and thought a friendly neighbour had shovelled their driveway during the snowfall on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

“I just figured it was probably one of our neighbours because it had been snowing all day and they know we work all day. The next day, our entire driveway was done again, and all the walkways, everything so thoroughly,” Keely says.

When Keely found the driveway had been shovelled for the second day in a row, he quickly realized it was far from neighbourly.

“(Thieves) were just casing out the house the first day I guess, and then they had someone doubling as a lookout for yesterday,” Keely says.

On Thursday, Feb. 6, Keely found the door to the house unlocked and a smashed window in the back. He says everything in the house was turned upside down, with items ripped off shelves, drawers dumped and almost all of their belongings gone, except for some clothes and furniture.

“We have nothing,” Schneider says. “They’ve taken our identification, they’ve taken our passport, they’re ruining our lives. There’s so much they're possibly planning to do with our passports. Take the TV, I don’t care. But to ruin our lives with identity theft? That’s just on a whole new level.”

Although the pair are still going through the house today, Feb. 7, they’ve already realized all of their electronics, jewelry, and bank statements were stolen, along with more unusual items like food, dryer sheets and all of Schneider’s underwear. The thieves used the couple’s luggage and backpacks to stuff in all of their belongings, which the they discovered after they found some DVD’s in a left-behind bag.

“They weren’t careful, they were just shoving stuff in bags,” Schneider says. “Our own bags. Our backpacks, our luggage to pack away our stuff in, they were tossing it in and it didn’t matter.”

Cassie Schneider and her partner Phil Keely found their home ransacked on Feb. 6, 2020.
Cassie Schneider and her partner Phil Keely found their home ransacked on Feb. 6, 2020.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Cassie Schneider

Although they have tenant insurance, the couple says many of the items can’t be replaced because of their sentimental value, like a computer with all of their photos and family heirlooms.

“The jewellery, a lot of it was my grandmothers, and she collected antiques, so they’re really rare and interesting things that you can’t replace,” Schneider says. “Any time I go travelling, I get jewellery where I travel, and that’s all gone… you could never attach a monetary value to that stuff.”

A landlord from a nearby apartment building called the police when she saw the suspicious activity. The landlord spotted a tall, thin man with fair skin and light hair was shovelling the driveway while a man with a hooded sweatshirt and a woman were bringing items out of the house and into a car.

“A girl and guy came in, and that’s probably why a lot of underwear and clothing had been taken because that girl was shopping in my wardrobe,” Schneider says. “Our pets were home. We have a coon hound and a cat, they were home and they were still home when we got here, so thank God they weren’t hurt or let out.”

Credit: FACEBOOK / Cassie Schneider

The couple doesn’t think they’re the first to have this happen to them. Shortly after reporting the incident to the police, a car matching the witness description was found. They say the car itself was stolen and had stolen plates. It was filled with suspected stolen items, but a guitar and some vinyl records were the only things belonging to the couple.

They’ll continue to clean their house today, assess what’s missing and cancel their credit cards and identification. The theft has left them disturbed, and they’ll be moving out in a few days.

“We’re not rich, we’re not that well off, and they fucked up our lives,” Keely says. “We rent here. We’re planning on buying and we were just going to stick it out for a little longer here while we wait to buy a house, and this may have expedited things... we’ll probably be out of here by next week, we’ll go live with my brother and sister-in-law while we find our own place.”

Despite all of their own misfortune, the couple wants to share their story so that it doesn’t happen to somebody else.

They say their garbage cans were moved from the back alley to the front of their large property, something they assume was done to make the thief watching out appear to live on and maintain the property.

“It might not be shovelling, what they’re doing to case out the house... trying to look busy on your property. It could be anything,” Schneider says.

Cpl. Jodi Shelkie, the spokesperson for the Kamloops RCMP, says she’s never heard of this behaviour before.

“I haven’t heard of somebody having their driveway shovelled so thieves can case it out. That's a lot of work on the part of the thief,” Shelkie says. “Houses are cased out but it’s usually, from my knowledge, from afar.”

Shelkie reminds people who may be away on vacation to have friends or family come by to turn on the lights, empty the mailbox, and check on the home.

The couple were just gone for the day, and although they’ve had a vehicle break-in before, they say they didn’t expect anything like this to happen to them.

“We're a young couple, we have worked really hard to have the things we have,” Schneider says. “Emotionally, mentally, this was really traumatizing and scary and it breaks my heart. Especially them doing it with our pets here, but I’m so thankful they’re OK.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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