Kelowna couple takes property back from thieves; calls for help from police and politicians - InfoNews

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Kelowna couple takes property back from thieves; calls for help from police and politicians

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
June 07, 2019 - 4:30 PM

KELOWNA - Melissa Sinclair has had enough.

Enough of the crime in her neighbourhood, enough of feeling disempowered and enough of the apparent lack of action from government and police in addressing the issue.

So, she’s taken pen to paper and written an open letter to police and local politicians, asking them to wake up and start dealing with the problems issues in what she said used to be safe family neighbourhoods.

The tipping point for Sinclair came June 4 when, in broad daylight, a $400, 100-pound workbench she’d just bought, but had yet to take into the house, was stolen from her front door.

“Due to our busy lives, it wasn't till the next day (June 5), when I noticed it was gone,” she said.

To see what happened, she viewed her surveillance camera footage and watched as the thieves walked by, cased her house, left and then came back with a shopping cart and rolled away with her property.

“The kicker was I was home,” she said.

Sinclair then went to some community Facebook groups to see if anyone had heard what was going on and that’s where she saw that although she found the invasion shocking, it wasn’t actually uncommon.

“I’ve never paid much attention to these pages … I joined a long time ago and that’s about it,” she said. “But when this happened to me and I went back and read through and I thought, ‘holy crap. The cops know, there’s all this proof on here and yet, nothing happens.’” 

She and her husband weren’t OK with the status quo so they went about trying to find what happened. It started with them posting pictures of the thieves on the Facebook pages where people talk about stolen goods and the like.

They asked if anyone saw the people in the video or pictures that they post their whereabouts, and people came through.

“We were about to give up and then someone said ‘this lady is here on the road,’” she said.

So they drove to where she was sighted, and found her.

After some talking, the woman took them to a house on the other side of her neighbourhood where the bench was stored. She went into the house and came out with the Sinclair's bench.

“We think she took it to a drug dealer to trade for drugs,” Sinclair said.

A few of the neighbours watched and congratulated them as we drove away, and Sinclair said they too are so sick of the things that go on.

“It was kind of scary, but I felt cheated that someone would come and take my stuff. My husband and I aren’t the types of people who would just take it,” she said.

When they went home they posted their story and another person decided to follow their lead and get their bike back.

That prompted the letter asking police and politicians alike to join community Facebook groups to see all the proof, all the petty crime people are dealing with.

“I understand that the police have duties and there are rules and regulations but come-on, when will this end?” she said, in the letter posted June 7.

“City council, mayor, MPs, I implore you to help make a difference where it counts.”

Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey with the Kelowna RCMP said they do want to know what's happening and that while this effort had positive results it’s not the recommended course of action.

“We are always concerned when people decide to bypass law enforcement and take matters into their own hands,” said O’Donaghy.

“When that happens there is a great risk to the personal safety of the general public, as well as a risk that investigations can be jeopardized and key evidence can be lost. Tip information should always be shared with police or trusted sources such as Crime Stoppers.”


To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 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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