West Kelowna hardware store hit with five break-ins over three months - InfoNews

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West Kelowna hardware store hit with five break-ins over three months

Thieves took off with a sectional patio set from the West Kelowna Home Hardware last Saturday.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Home Hardware West Kelowna
March 19, 2019 - 3:07 PM

WEST KELOWNA - Steve Corothers has had to fix his fence so many times it's almost become a monthly routine. When he thinks about the constant break-ins at his store, he's torn between frustration and heartbreak.

"It's heart-breaking that people are driven to do such things," he said.

Corothers is the owner of the Home Hardware building near Dobbin Road in West Kelowna. Since last December his store has seen five break-ins, a number he thinks dwarfs the entire amount of break-ins from last year.

He said this string of break-ins began in December when thieves broke into the store's compound and stole a barbecue and ice melter. There were two break-ins in January and another in February, although the thieves didn't take anything of value.

Corothers said they rarely store anything important in the compound and whatever they put in there is covered up, which makes these repeated break-ins strange.

Last Saturday, March 16, Corothers stored five large sectional patio sets in the compound. When he returned in the morning, he found one in a nearby dumpster, but the rest were gone.

"We're sure they knew what they were looking for," he said.

In every break-in the perpetrators have used bolt cutters on the fence to get into the compound, forcing Corothers to pay for repairs. These costs, along with the stolen property, are piling up for the small business. He estimates these break-ins have lost him over $5000.

"We're locally owned, $5000 is a huge chunk."

Break-ins and thefts are a growing concern in West Kelowna.

The city's park operations revealed it had experienced five break-ins so far in 2019 at the Elliott Road facility. Macleans magazine's annual Most Dangerous Places in Canada 2019 showed West Kelowna experienced 217 break and enters last year. The ranking, which used Statistics Canada data, put West Kelowna as the 69th most dangerous city in Canada.

West Kelowna has responded to increased crime with security patrols in areas like Main Street and Dobbin Road. Corothers suspects these patrols might be causing the rash of break-ins at his store, as criminals might be leaving supervised areas for other, less-guarded locations.

Corothers has added security cameras and motion alarm sensors to his hardware store in response to these break-ins. He's uncertain when, if ever, his store will get a break.

"I don't see any pattern," he said. "It's unbelievable."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Sean Mott or call (250) 864-7494 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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