Whistler RCMP have made headway in their investigations into a series of recent thefts in the community, working with the Vancouver Police Department to arrest a Vancouver man in connection with the theft of two of three ATM machines that have been stolen in the Whistler area, and two break-ins at the Woodrun Lodge of the Benchlands.
The RCMP are still investigating whether the suspect, identified as Thomas Grant Moore of Vancouver, is working with other individuals sought for other thefts in the Benchlands area or a Jan. 11 incident where an employee of the Marriott Residence Inn was sprayed with bear spray after surprising a likely thief in the hotel's storage lockers.
The two ATM thefts occurred on Oct. 4 at the Marriott and on Jan. 17 from the Glacier Lodge. The break-ins at the Woodrun occurred on Nov. 17 and Jan. 5.
A third ATM was stolen on Sept. 7 from Lake Placid Lodge. That incident is still under investigation.
Moore has been charged with two counts of theft over $5,000 and two counts of breaking and entering, and theft.
At this time the RCMP and Vancouver Police Department don't believe that Moore is connected to a rash of 11 vehicles thefts from the Whistler area but are still investigating. They are also investigating Moore's connection with up to two other suspects who were caught on video during thefts on the Benchlands.
"The good news is that a prolific offender is off the street, and that we're anticipating more charges to follow," said Sergeant Steve Wright of the Whistler RCMP. "A lot of work was put into this by General Investigation Section (GIS), as well as the vehicle theft file."
It's unknown whether the vehicle thefts from two weeks in mid-January are connected to a theft that occurred on Feb. 4. Between 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. a white Subaru Impreza was taken from in front of Milestones on Main Street. At 10:30 a.m. the next morning two Vancouver men were arrested by Vancouver Police Department at a gas station on East Hastings. They have not been formally charged at press time, and cannot be named.
Two house break-ins were also reported in Whistler and Pemberton this week, which may be related to four break-ins reported the previous week - including three daylight robberies in Whistler and one late night break-in in Pemberton.
In one instance the thief kicked in a door on Cedar Springs Road in Alpine Meadows at 12:45 a.m. on Feb. 4, but was scared off by one of the occupants of the house who was still home at the time. They were not able to get a description of the thief.
The second incident was reported on Collins Road in Pemberton between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Feb. 6. The thief entered through the garage door, and stole passports, change, and two bottles of rum.
Residents are reminded to lock their doors at all times, and are advised to purchase home alarm systems.
Ski and snowboard thefts down
While Whistler may be experiencing an unusual number of vehicle thefts and home break-ins since the New Year, the number of ski and snowboard thefts has declined 30 per cent compared to last year.
"We use a computer system called PRIME (Public Records Information Management Environment) that alerts us whenever there is a drop or a major increase in offences to see if we're entering details correctly, and we were told the theft of skis and snowboards is down 30 per cent this year, which is very significant," said Sergeant Steve Wright.
Sgt. Wright couldn't say whether this is related to a drop in visitor numbers to the resort, but said he's noticed that very few skiers and snowboarders are using locks on the mountain.
"The vast majority of skis and snowboards are left unattended, and our members will walk through the village at night and find skis and boards that have been left there for God knows how long," said Sgt. Wright. "Locks are a cheap investment that can save a lot of money and a lot of aggravation at the end of the day. They're also universal, which means you can take them to almost any resort in North America."
Despite the decline, thefts still take place. In the past week the RCMP had four calls for stolen skis or snowboards.