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Rash of thefts may be related

Hotel employee bear sprayed; 10 vehicles stolen in Sea to Sky

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· On the evening of Jan. 13 a black 1990 Toyota Forerunner was stolen from the day skier lots, licence plate 773HXK.

· On the evening of Jan. 13 or morning of Jan. 14 a grey 1993 Mazda 626 was taken from Alpha Lake Road, licence plate 055JSX.

· On Jan. 19 a 2008 Mazda 5 was stolen from in front of the liquor store on Pemberton Avenue in Squamish, licence plate HEA146.

As well, thieves stole a trailer from the Squamish Airport on Jan. 16 that was full of helicopter parts, and has the Black Tusk Helicopters logo on the side. The trailer is white and 15-feet long, with a plate number of 19563Y. According to the RCMP the parts are particular to Black Tusk's helicopters and have no commercial resale value. A reward is currently being considered.
To date, only the one Acura involved in the police chase has been recovered.
While cars are occasionally stolen in Sea to Sky, Sergeant Stephen Wright of the Whistler RCMP says the number of thefts is very unusual. The majority of stolen vehicles did not have keys in the car, and he believes that the thieves have dummy keys that they are using to start vehicles. The best protection, he said, are anti-theft devices that lock to the steering wheel.
"They're relatively cheap, they're effective, and they can even lower your insurance," he said. "Vehicles are being stolen without keys, so this is a good deterrent."
The RCMP are also investigating whether there is a connection between the stolen vehicles and a rash of other thefts and incidents.
The most serious incident occurred on Jan. 11 when an employee of the Marriott-Residence Inn was working in the underground parking area and entered the storage room. He was surprised by a male, who screamed and sprayed him in the face with bear spray before fleeing in a black truck. The employee was treated at the Whistler Health Care Centre and released.
"It's important for staff to be diligent, and to be aware of the possibility of being sprayed," said Wright. "It's an excruciating sensation, and any attack like this is of special concern for us."
The suspect is described as a white male, roughly five-foot-11 and 85 kilograms (187 pounds). He had either short hair or was balding, and was wearing a hat.
He also bears a resemblance to police photos that were released after break-ins at the Woodrun Lodge on Nov. 17 and Jan. 5.
The same individual or group may also responsible for the theft of an ATM machine from the Glacier Lodge, sometime between 2 a.m. and 4:20 a.m. on the morning of Jan. 17.
The RCMP are asking anyone with information on any of these incidents to call the detachment at 604-932-3044, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

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