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cops in 5

Auto break-in gang busted at village condo A trio of Lower Mainland residents who went on a three-day spree of break-ins to parked cars in Whistler were apprehended by the RCMP on Aug. 21. Constable Warren Tomalty said three men, aged 18 to 36, were captured after an employee at the Glacier’s Reach condo-hotel was tipped off about suspicious activities in the building’s underground parking garage. According to Tomalty, the three men arrived in Whistler on the afternoon of Aug. 19 in a stolen Toyota, and began a series of automotive break-ins. At least 10 incidents were reported to the police during the period. On Aug. 21, one of the men inquired at Glacier’s Reach about getting access to the parkade and a locked underground storage area, but was unable to provide proof of registration at the hotel. A hotel employee called police and they responded, finding the three men apparently planning another break-in. RCMP found the Toyota, bearing stolen license plates, and discovered dozens of pieces of stolen merchandise, including golf clubs and compact discs. Tomalty said the items valued in the thousands of dollars. Drug paraphernalia was also discovered in the vehicle. Charges, including possession of stolen property and theft from vehicles, are pending. Tomalty said the RCMP are glad to have received the tip from the hotel employee, and encourage others to make a call to police if they encounter similar circumstances. "There could have been a lot more stolen if someone didn’t get suspicious," he said. "We’re a big community but we’re still small enough that people know when things are suspicious or when they see something out of the norm." Middle-aged shoplifter nabbed at Chateau A suspect who may not fit the typical image associated with shoplifting was arrested Aug. 23 after an incident in the Chateau Whistler. Tomalty said a 48-year-old woman from Vancouver was arrested in her hotel room following a daylight theft from the Snowflake store in the Chateau’s mall of shops. At about 11 a.m., the suspect was caught by a store employee as she tried to take a coat worth $1,795 from the store. The woman was confronted by staff and a struggle ensued, but she escaped. However, she dropped her purse in the midst of the struggle, containing her hotel room keys, and officers later found her in her room with the stolen jacket. The same woman is a suspect in another theft from a local store on Aug. 22. A 24-year-old Whistler man will also appear in provincial court on Sept. 18 following an unrelated shoplifting incident at the Grocery Store in the village on Aug. 22. Tomalty said clerks observed the man entering the store and pocketing a package of batteries, a wrapped sandwich and a pen. He then purchased a drink and tried to leave the store but was stopped and questioned by employees, who grabbed him by the arm. The man then threw off the hold and ran out of the store, falling several times on his way into the village. The incident was reported to the police, who caught up with the suspect near the day skier parking lot. Tomalty said the man apparently attempted to disguise himself by lifting up his shirt and hiding his face; when officers approached him he reportedly asked them "what’s this gonna cost me?" Whistler RCMP offer ongoing shoplifting awareness courses for local businesses and encourage merchants to participate. Search on for missing safe Some strong-armed culprits apparently helped themselves to a small safe located in the office of the Fireplace Inn on Aug. 24, containing an undisclosed sum of money. Tomalty said the theft is believed to have taken place between 10:30 p.m. and 11:40 p.m. It’s believed at least two people with a vehicle took part in the theft, as the safe weighed more than 100 pounds. Any public assistance in tracking the missing safe would be appreciated, RCMP say. Unlicensed motorists beware RCMP are warning drivers who hit the highway without a valid driver’s license that their vehicles — or even a car borrowed from a friend or a relative — can be seized if they’re caught on the road. A 17-year-old Whistler woman was stopped by officers at 3 a.m. on Aug. 25 during a regular roadside check. Police discovered that she was travelling without a valid driver’s licence, and contacted the provincial motor vehicle branch, who informed them to seize the vehicle she was driving and hold it for 30 days. The car did not belong to her. Tomalty said the province has the authority to impound vehicles driven by unlicensed drivers; owners can later make an application to retrieve the vehicles.

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