Jeff Ross was at a loss for words Thursday after being hit by thieves yet again.
This time it was early Wednesday morning when someone chipped through the rear cinder block wall of his Qualicum Beach gold and silver store to get inside.
“It’s gut-wrenching to be victimized this many times,” Ross told CHEK News. “This was not a random case, this was not a street person. This is a hardened criminal making a living stealing from other people.”
The thief or thieves were able to partially hide behind a large garbage bin in the dark and rain early Wednesday, eventually making their way through the concrete wall around 1:58 a.m.
Ross knows this because that’s when the cable for security cameras inside the store was cut.
The thief then broke through a scissor gate, ending up in another room where the safe is.
An electric grinder was then used to cut into the side of the safe where all the valuables are stored every night.
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“Pure bullion. You would have what’s called 1 oz Maple Leaf or 1 oz gold bar,” said Ross. “Sixteen of those were taken, so that’s 16 times $2,700 gone. Six trays of rings along with a tray of earrings, a tray of gold chains, all gone.”
Some $72,000 worth of valuables were stolen, including $14,000 in cash.
Ross believes that two people might have been involved in the break-in. One person who made it inside and another who waited outside.
He says the security alarm didn’t go off to alert police because it is not motion-activated in the rear of the store and the back door also wasn’t opened to set it off.
Nearly 25 break-ins in 25 years
Ross owns 10 businesses, four of which are gold and silver stores.
Shockingly, this is the 22nd break-in in 25 years of businesses in different locations.
“I’ve had five in less than a year, three of them have all occurred with entry through the wall,” he said.
Ross says he can’t get any insurance because of all the previous break-ins.
Local residents walking by the store Thursday were surprised to hear about the theft.
“It’s disgusting. It won’t be a local person, I wouldn’t imagine. We don’t usually get crime in Qualicum,” said 33-year resident Tony Wilde.
An Oceanside RCMP forensics team was on the scene Wednesday taking fingerprints.
“So it would have happened anywhere in that time frame between 1:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning,” said Oceanside RCMP Sgt. Shane Worth.
“If anyone saw anything suspicious or has video or knows anything about this break-in they’re asked to contact their police or Crime Stoppers,” he said. “Our Forensic Identification Section has attended and we’re awaiting results from them on any forensic evidence for this crime.”
Ross says he doesn’t know how he’ll move forward financially and blames the justice system for providing no deterrent to criminals who think it’s OK to steal from others.
The Oceanside RCMP can be reached at 250-248-6111 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).