Workers at a liquor store in North Cowichan are frustrated after being broken into four times in just nine days.
The breaks-ins at Commons Liquor & More, located in Cowichan Commons, started Oct. 6, with the latest taking place in the early morning hours of Oct. 16.
“It’s really depressing and frustrating,” store manager Annie Bellis said.
She said two men were caught on security camera breaking one of the windows near the front door with a giant rock during the first break in.
They were able to get inside and steal some product undetected because one of the motion sensors was partially blocked, so it didn’t set off the alarm.
The two came back a few more times throughout the night.
Bellis added during that time, a group of four young people, she believes be between 18 and 19 years old and known by store employees, took advantage of the smashed window and started stealing product themselves.
“Initially they were just stealing the small bottles and high end tequila, high end vodkas, Hennessy’s, Quovadis, and some very expensive scotch,” Bellis said.
She said the next night the same group of four smashed another window and stole product, with them coming back and doing it for a third time a few days later.
“As far as I’m concerned they are just young delinquent punks with obviously no respect for anyone or anyone’s property,” Bellis added.
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She then put in metal grates around all the windows hoping that would keep the thieves out.
Just after that, Bellis said the group managed to push the grate enough to have one of them climb over top and get in again.
Over the course of the four break-ins, about $6,000 of product was stolen.
Bellis said she is still waiting on the bills to replace the windows, and that it will likely be another few thousand dollars.
“I think this is just a sign of what’s happening in the Cowichan Valley and I really think something needs to be done,” she explained.
Rob Douglas, Mayor of North Cowichan, told CHEK News there has been an increase in crime across the municipality, including in the Cowichan Commons shopping centre.
He said this is concerning, adding council is discussing possible solutions.
“We have been advocating to the province for additional resources to tackle some of the issues, including more RCMP officers in our community,” Douglas said.
RCMP have arrested two people in connection with the break-ins, adding the investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to call Duncan RCMP.