West Shore RCMP report 167 per cent increase in vehicle thefts

West Shore RCMP report 167 per cent increase in vehicle thefts

The West Shore RCMP are busy investigating a series of overnight thefts and say there has been a surge in property-related crimes lately.

The first call came from Burnett Road in View Royal on April 14 at 4:37 a.m. That’s when a resident woke up to a noise outside, where two suspects were allegedly trying to cut the chains off of their resident’s bike. The resident then chased the two suspects away and called police.

The first suspect is described as approximately five-foot-five, wearing a yellow jacket and carrying bolt cutters while the second suspect was seen driving a large white van, police say.

West Shore RCMP believe the suspected van is a U-Haul rental stolen from the 2100 block of Sooke Road on the same night as the attempted bike theft. The van is a 2019 GMC Savana with the licence plate NX 4941, and police are asking anyone who may have seen this vehicle on Tuesday to call them.

This is not the only stolen vehicle from that night, as the West Shore RCMP say they received reports of a vehicle theft occurring on Hagel Road in Colwood. Police later recovered that vehicle in Victoria.

Additionally, West Shore RCMP received a different report from Hagel Road, where a vehicle was broken into and the contents rifled through. Another vehicle on Goldstream in Langford was also broken into, police say.

The alleged thefts come amid a spike property crimes in the West Shore area.

According to West Shore RCMP, there was a 167 per cent increase in reports of stolen vehicles and a 75 per cent increase in calls for break and enter into businesses in March 2020 compared to the previous March.

They also say shoplifting calls increased 42 per cent while fraud increased 32 per cent in March 2020 compared to March 2019.

We recognize that these are unprecedented times and many first responders including us, have made some changes to our service delivery. Earlier this month, West Shore RCMP increased the number of officers that are out patrolling the West Shore communities. We have done this by reorganizing our existing police resources, Insp. Todd Preston of West Shore RCMP, said in a press release.

The increase in crime is not exclusively in the West Shore, robberies across the region have risen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you have any information about any of the break-ins or thefts, you are asked to call the West Shore RCMP’s non-emergency line at 250-474-2264.

To report anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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