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Thefts continue, but hope for RCMP

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Despite an otherwise quiet weekend on most fronts, the RCMP are continuing to respond to reports of break-ins and thefts.

On March 8, between 9:45 a.m. and 5 p.m., a blue 2000 Volkswagen Passat, plate number ALH 494, was taken from the underground parkade on London Lane. It was missing a hubcap on a rear wheel and had a ski rack.

It was the first vehicle theft in several weeks, following a rash of thefts in January and early February. One suspect from Squamish with a history of vehicle theft was arrested and charged in relation to one of the thefts, and RCMP are continuing to investigate.

There were also an additional four break and enters in the past week. The RCMP believe a known property offender is back in town for many of the thefts reported in recent weeks, including break-ins to restaurants and offices.

The first attempted break-in was at Pemberton Valley Nurseries on the night of March 1. The thief attempted to pry back the door, but gave up.

On March 3, someone broke into the Whistler Eye Clinic at around 2:30 a.m. A small safe was taken containing an undisclosed amount of cash. The method of entry is unknown.

There was another business break-in at roughly 11:30 p.m. at 2129 Lake Placid Road. The thief broke into the office and tried to open the safe. Again there was no obvious point of entry.

And on March 8, a window was broken at a residence between midnight and 8 a.m. and a small amount of cash was taken.

Also reported was an attempted break-in on Drifter Way which happened between Feb. 14 and Feb. 26, where the thief attempted to pry open the front door and a side window.

The strangest case was on March 5. A thief entered a residence in the 1900 block of Snowridge between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. while a resident was asleep upstairs and stole a pair of yellow moon boots.


RCMP on guard for gang activity

The Whistler RCMP are not expecting the recent gang violence in the Lower Mainland to creep up to Whistler, but are in contact with the Vancouver Police's gang task force.

While some locals are concerned about gangs coming up to Whistler on the May long weekend, Sergeant Steve Wright says most of those issues are related to high school kids and not specific gang activity.

"It's always a concern because of our close proximity to the Lower Mainland, that gang activity will spill over here," said Sgt. Wright. "We've had no intelligence that any gang members are coming up here, but we are in contact with the task force in the Lower Mainland who will inform us if any gang members are heading our way to keep under surveillance. Gang members have been up here in the past, and kept a low profile when here."

Sgt. Wright says local bars and nightclubs are also attuned to gang activity, and will notify the RCMP if they feel threatened or feel an issue is going to develop.

While there are fights on occasion, Sgt. Wright doesn't believe they are gang related. And while the murder in 2007 was perpetrated by the bodyguard of a known drug dealer and gang member, it was related to an altercation between groups after a nightclub closed and not to specific gang activity.


Whistler RCMP say Exercise Silver was useful
For five days in February the Whistler RCMP coordinated with dozens of other agencies in responding to scenarios that could develop during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The focus of Exercise Silver - Exercise Gold will be in November - was on communication.

"It was very well organized, the incidents we dealt with were very realistic and could potentially happen... like a highway closure due to snow or an accident," said Sgt. Steve Wright. "We had to establish lines of communication with various agencies, over 100 participating in Exercise Silver. It was an eye-opener for us to know who was responsible for us, and how we would need to work together."

There was a command centre created at municipal hall that coordinated communication between agencies, which were in constant contact. The goal is to respond as quickly as possible according to a playbook that is in development, making the best use of resources in response to issues that might arise.

That playbook will be left with Whistler after the Games, and will be a legacy for the future says Sgt. Wright.

Exercise Gold will be more intense, with agencies responding to mock scenarios around the clock for a week using all the resources that will be available from emergency services, security, Crown agencies like B.C. Hydro, and other stakeholders like tow trucks and highway maintenance crews.

"I know all our members found (Exercise Silver) quite useful, I know this is something that we would not normally be doing to this scale."

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