‘A crime of opportunity’: Hand dryers targeted at Greater Victoria businesses

'A crime of opportunity': Hand dryers targeted at Greater Victoria businesses
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Saanich and Oak Bay are now both part of a hand dryer theft spree across North America.

Just over a week ago Saanich Police were called to the Dominos at the 3200-block of Douglas Street.

“A suspect had entered this business and attempted to steal a Dyson from the washroom,” said Const. Markus Anastasiades, media spokesperson for the Saanich Police Department.

“The suspect was confronted by the store owners and employees at the time. The suspect then left the store. While we were on scene we did learn from the employees that a week prior to one was in fact stolen.”

It turned out it was not the only time someone in Greater Victoria has got their hands dirty. Just two days later a Starbucks on Oak Bay Avenue was also hit.

“Staff had become aware that the hand dryer had been pulled out from the wall. And there were wires hanging there,” said Deputy Chief Mark Fisher of Oak Bay Police Department.

Three weeks ago, in St. Albert, Alta., near Edmonton, three separate Starbucks had five of the premium dryers stolen.

This time last year Belleville, Ont. also had one stolen, it has even happened across the border in Iowa.

Fisher said while the dyers are “high value” items, he doesn’t know why exactly anyone would want to steal one.

“Well these are a high-value item,” said Fisher. “If you look at the cost of one of these dryers, they are significant. I believe they are over $1,000 dollars new, obviously a crime of opportunity, but other than than that, no I don’t know any motive.”

ALSO READ: Campbell River man arrested for stealing waffle iron

Stealing a commercial hand dryer wouldn’t be easy to sell, say police.

“I think these items would only be useful in commercial settings,” said Anastasiades.

“I’m not sure having one in their home would be a good thing? I haven’t heard of anyone having these items in their home. It’s really baffling.”

There has been a rash of odd thefts on Vancouver Island lately.

In Saanich a farm gate and greenhouse were both stolen in January and last week in some deer cams that were part contraception project were stolen in Oak Bay.

Elsewhere, a man in Campbell River was arrested yesterday after he stole a waffle iron from a business.

“It’s been an unusual time, but we are in unusual times,” said Anastasiades

Luckily both shops had surveillance footage. Police are investigating whether the incidents are connected, anyone with information is asked to call police.

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Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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