A rash of pick up truck thefts in Princeton in the past month, and a corresponding spike of trucks stolen from other centres and recovered here, have police urging the public to be vigilant.
Ten pick up trucks were stolen in Princeton RCMP territory in March, according to detachment sergeant Barry Kennedy.
“ The trucks all seem to have been left unlocked and in some cases, keys are in the vehicles,” said Kennedy. “[The thieves] don’t have to break windows, locks or hot wire the vehicle, they just get in the truck and go.”
Kennedy said it is unlikely the people responsible for the thefts are from Princeton.
“I don’t think so. We are not getting enough intelligence back to use, either people telling us stuff or us finding trends, to think there is a co-ordination out of Princeton.”
In March a further five stolen trucks, taken from other areas in the Similkameen and Okanagan Valleys, have been recovered undamaged in Princeton.
“It sounds very organized,” he said. “We’re finding vehicles here stolen from other towns and to me that says those vehicles came here and either ran out of gas, broke down or were dumped to steal another vehicle.”
Kennedy said one plausible theory is that the stolen trucks are being used to help the thieves commit other crimes. In one case he said there were three break and enters in the same area that a truck was stolen, on the same night. In another case a stolen truck was linked to credit card fraud and several weeks ago a truck stolen in Princeton was used during a robbery in Chase.
Kennedy said the public’s assistance is required to catch the thieves, which means people phoning police if they see a suspicious vehicle driving slowly around neighborhoods, “Those are the calls we need because those are the calls that are going to help solve this.”
Kennedy said anyone witnessing an attempted vehicle theft should not intervene, but call 911.
“When it comes down to it its your truck. You don’t want to take a beating or get seriously injured for your truck,” he said. “These guys are desperate. You don’t know if they have weapons on them but they are fully prepared to steal and fully prepared to get away.”
He also urged all truck and car owners to ensure their vehicles are kept locked at all times.