PENTICTON - Kaleden Petro Canada owner Jas (J.B.) Bansoota has discovered the best and the worst of social media, at least when it comes to the security of his business.
The service station owner has been frustrated by a couple of recent break-ins where social media provided some leads to the perpetrators, but also may have contributed to a second burglary attempt.
“I’ve had no issues with break-ins for 10 years,” he says, pointing to the shuttered doors and windows of the business. “Then, in the last week of August, four people broke into the building through the cooler door. It just happened to be the night my employee forgot to arm the security alarm.”
Basoota says the suspects attempted to access the safe, only to end up taking approximately $4,000 worth of merchandise when attempts to break open the safe failed.
“My video surveillance shows one of them leaving at one point and returning within a few minutes with more tools to access the safe. That tells me one of them was local,” Bansoota says.
He later posted some of the video images on Facebook in addition to providing the police with copies.
“There were some good leads from Facebook. I passed them on to police,” he says.
Ten days later, Bansoota was hit again.
Penticton RCMP media spokesperson Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth said earlier this week the service station on Highway 97 in Kaleden was victimized by another break in early on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
This time, police were called when Bansoota reported the theft of his surveillance cameras. Video tapes recovered from the business revealed a person wearing a blue and white motorbike helmet, jeans and a blue and grey jacket walking around the pumps, grabbing some paper towels and walking out of sight.
A few minutes later, the camera feed went black. A second video feed shows a young woman in the shadows. Neither person was captured on camera committing an offence, but two cameras went missing from the business.
“They tried to get in through the washroom. When that failed, they carefully unscrewed the cameras, but not before the woman revealed her face,” Bansoota says.
He now feels the social media publicity generated by the first burglary might have set up the second.
“I think, perhaps, they saw the postings and felt it was an easy place to rob. Social media has good points, maybe a bad side, too,” he says, noting not just honest people monitor social media.
Bansoota also discovered a feature with his security system he wished to pass on to other business people, noting the system can be set up with the alarm company to arm itself automatically.
“It’s a feature I didn’t know about. If someone forgets, it can be set up to arm itself automatically,” he says.
One of the two suspects involved in the second burglary failed to escape the long arm of the law, following observations made on Friday, Sept. 11, by an RCMP constable on patrol in Summerland. He saw a man on a motorcycle at the corner of Thompson and Victoria Roads who he recognized. He followed the man to an address on Victoria Road North where the man was found standing beside a motorcycle that had its ignition switch tampered with. The man was also found to have break and enter tools in his jacket, and in a bag on the motorcycle were the video cameras stolen from the Kaleden Petro Canada. The motorcycle’s identification plate had also been tampered with.
The bike was found to be a 2009 KTM stolen Sept. 8 from a West Kelowna residence.
The suspect was brought before a justice of the peace and subsequently released on conditions.
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