Residents in Fort Saskatchewan are a bit fed up with someone who has been stealing their recyclables from their properties. It may seem like a petty crime but the RCMP says, report the person involved.

One of those residents who has had enough is Kiera McGregor.

“We are leaving at the end of this month,” McGregor told River Radio. “All we see is the hundreds of vehicle break-ins posted on social media that are just down the street from us. It’s sad that you can’t leave something out for five minutes without it going missing. Yes, stealing bottles, it really isn’t much but its principle behind it.”

McGregor says recently they had someone try and open their window where the AC vent leads out, that’s what really scared her. 

For many residents, their recyclables are a valuable source of income. Some Fort Saskatchewan residents say they use the money to purchase items just to get them through the month. Arthur C. Green/River Radio

“My daughter was two months old at the time and that’s the last thing I want around her,” McGregor said. “If we weren’t here when it happened I would hate to come home to all my valuables missing.”

Every couple of days McGregor says she sees the same man come running by the backside of her apartment building and about two minutes later he comes running back with bottles in his hands. She doesn’t know who tried to open the window that night but says the man who constantly steals bottles from them has been confronted and caught red-handed.

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“We’ve caught this man taking our bottles before, the first time he was long gone, the second time my husband confronted him as he grabbed for them. We no longer leave them outside,” McGregor said. “We see him all over Fort Saskatchewan with bottles in his red wagon.”

But it’s not just McGregor who is disgusted with the bottle bandit, a lot of people in Fort Saskatchewan came forth who have witnessed him stealing when River Radio asked for information. However, some residents chose not to give their names because they fear they will be targeted.

River Radio spoke with the RCMP in Fort Saskatchewan about the bottle theft issue in our community. We asked the RCMP if they received any complaints about these bottle thefts? We also asked are the RCMP going to do anything about it if so?

“I am familiar with the bottle theft issue in our community,” Cst. Hayley Townsend from the Fort Saskatchewan RCMP Detachment said. “I have seen the posts on social media. In my review of files over the last couple of months, a common theme seems to be people who have been victimized posting/reporting issues over social media.”

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Cst. Townsend says this is a great tool to alert the members of our community, however, unless these issues are reported to the police they aren’t able to act on the information.

“I often hear a lot of property crime goes unreported because people think it’s a waste of time, what was taken was small or it’s a waste of resources and that the police can’t/won’t do anything,” Cst. Townsend said. “I can assure you that the police can’t do anything if we don’t know about it.”

Cst. Townsend says that by coming together as a community and reporting things that seem minor (Suspicious Persons, Thefts, Mischief) she believes that we can all be apart of the solution.

“Sometimes we are in the right place at the right time and are able to intercept and arrest suspects responsible for the crime,” Cst. Townsend said. “Other times we are trying to identify suspects based on statements obtained and descriptions people have provided us or video surveillance.”

At least ten residents including McGregor say the man riding this bike has been constantly stealing from them. Submitted Photo

Cst. Townsend says this information is “An important thing.”

“We are able to track crime trends and information share with other agencies to identify suspects,” Cst. Townsend said. “In the cases of bottle theft specifically we have received several reported incidents to our detachment. We are working to identify the suspects responsible. With that being said in order to pursue charges against the suspects what we need from the community is that if you witness a theft of this nature occur: report it, do your best to get a description of the suspect if you have a photo or video surveillance of the incident occurring provide it to police.”

A picture of recent crime in Fort Saskatchewan. The community came together to replace the stolen tools.

Police say they can’t help you if you don’t call. Taking to social media is not your answer. Pick up the phone and report the crime.

“We typically conduct patrols for the suspect and if we are able to identify the person responsible we can hold them accountable for their actions,” Cst. Townsend said. “Many of these incidents are crimes of opportunity, by making small changes they can really have a positive impact on crime trends in our area. For example: locking up belongings after use, moving bottles inside of your garage instead of around the side of your house, added or timed outdoor lighting, video cameras, getting to know your neighbours so that you can keep watch of each others properties.”

However, Kiera McGregor says she has called police before and they were unable to find the suspect. Someone returned to her window once again in the cover of darkness.

“About a month ago now at about 10:00 p.m., we had someone try and open our window. It was dark out and our patio light wasn’t on yet and we live on the ground floor of our condo,” McGregor said. “The guy soon realized I was standing in the living room holding my two-month-old daughter and stopped.”

McGregor says her husband went to try and approach the culprit.

“We saw someone with their flashlight out there, but he was long gone. Rcmp were called but were unable to find him.” McGregor said. “I am not sure who it was, but with all the theft going on weve decided to leave Fort Saskatchewan.”

McGregor says “Yes this does happen everywhere but I just don’t feel comfortable raising my daughter where we are now.”

Support is available from Alberta Health Service Addiction and Mental Health at

riverradio.fort@gmail.com

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