STONEWALLED: Break-in victim does her own police work after Vernon RCMP inaction | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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STONEWALLED: Break-in victim does her own police work after Vernon RCMP inaction

Manuela Simicic questions why Vernon RCMP haven't got back to her.

Since being broken into last week, Vernon couple Manuela Simicic and Vjekoslav Memic have managed to get a photo of the suspect and even tracked them down hanging out in a local park.

It’s impressive detective work for everyday civilians.

However, whether the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP have acted on any of this isn’t known, as Simicic says she’s been stonewalled by them.

She said multiple calls to the RCMP have not been returned, leaving her annoyed and feeling like she isn't valued.

"There's a lack of communication," Simicic told "That's what pushed me over the ledge."

She didn't even realize they were victims of a break in until she was heading out the door and went to grab her bag and noticed it wasn't there.

Her bag and purse were gone, as were Memic's wallet, and bizarrely, two pairs of his shoes.

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"It's a weird feeling, someone was in when we were asleep," she said. "It's not comfortable."

She immediately reported it to the RCMP which arrived at her home shortly afterwards. An officer took a statement and Simicic told them a bank card had been used at 7-Eleven. She said the RCMP seemed reluctant to visit a 7-Eleven saying there were five in Vernon.

The couple then started doing their own police work.

Her debit card had been used in about nine different transactions from about 4 a.m. until about 8 a.m. In total, the thief spent roughly $200.

Simicic told the police she'd call the bank and find out when and in which 7-Eleven her card had been used.

However, not even her own bank was cooperative.

The bank kept saying they couldn't give out the precise information of where her card was used.

After 45 minutes on the phone, it was too much.

"I went into a little bit of 'Karen mode' and asked to speak to the manager, so the manager was able to tell me this time," Simicic said.

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Armed with the exact time and location of where her card was used the couple headed to the nearest 7-Eleven.

A helpful employee flicked through the CCTV footage and found a person using her card at the exact time of the first fraudulent transaction, 4:22 a.m.

Simicic snapped a photo of the suspect from the footage and sent it to the RCMP.

She still hasn't heard back.

Along with her break-in, the thief also tried to break into her neighbour's place upstairs, although luckily wasn't successful.

Memic and the upstairs neighbour then took a drive around Vernon to see if they could find the suspect.

Remarkably they did.

"They are both 100% sure it is the guy, they told the police, (and) they don't want to approach him," she said.

The police said they'd send someone and get back to them.

However, "nothing, no callbacks," she said.

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Since then she says she's made several calls and not heard a thing.

"I really don't want to bad mouth the RCMP, I don't know, maybe they are working on it, maybe they are collecting evidence, I have no idea," she said.

To say she is annoyed and frustrated is an understatement.

"Especially because we did provide them a lot of information, and we are pretty sure we found the guy," she said. "Even if they just called and confirmed, 'hey we sent someone there.'"

A native of Croatia, Simicic says she can't find an English word to express how thoroughly disappointed and frustrated she is.

There is a word in Croatian, but she says it doesn't translate correctly and only means "pathetic."

It's difficult to say whether the person caught on CCTV using her stolen credit card could be charged with break and enter, but logic would suggest that a charge of using a stolen credit card could have been laid.

Simicic says the situation has left her questioning herself.

"Is this important? Am I making too much of a fuss over it? You start doubting yourself."

She knows she's not getting her stuff back and says roughly $1,000 was taken. But that's not the point.

"I don't feel comfortable that guy is walking around," she said. "Can he just go into any other house tomorrow and rob someone else?"

Whether the suspect has been apprehended isn't known. A quick check of recent court records doesn't appear to show anyone charged with credit card fraud or break-and-enter on the day of the robbery.

"Maybe they caught the guy and are prosecuting him. I don't know because they haven't told (me)," Simicic said. "That's the most annoying thing."

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP weren't immediately available for comment.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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