Break and enters continue to rise in Penticton

Concession stands were hit the hardest during a spree of break and enters in Penticton that reached its peak on Aug. 22.

Concession stands were hit the hardest during a spree of break and enters in Penticton that reached its peak on Aug. 22.

“We’ve had a lot of thefts lately, a lot of break-ins, a lot of vehicles,” said Rick Dellebuur, RCMP community policing coordinator.

Tickleberry’s, the Peach on the Beach and multiple other concession stands were the victims of break-ins, along with multiple vehicle and property break-ins over the last week, continuing a trend that has lasted most of the summer.

The Lakawana Park concession at 796 Lakeshore Drive was broken into overnight on Aug. 20. The tenant observed that the suspects broke off a lock to the south door of the building and stole the cash register with an undisclosed amount of cash inside.

That same evening, a break and enter also occurred at the Peach on the Beach. RCMP members attended and found the lock had been cut, but it appeared only potato chips had been taken. The Peach was broken into again on Aug. 22. The suspect cut the lock off the door, entered and stole the cash register taking an undisclosed amount of cash. The Lake Skaha Tent and Trailer also reported that overnight on Aug. 20, suspects had ripped the coin boxes off three of the four coin-operated men’s public showers at the campground.

“Once they figure out that there’s money there, a lot of these places aren’t that well secured,” Dellebuur said. “They’re easy hitting because they are not alarmed. They’re summer businesses.”

In the early morning hours of Aug. 23 RCMP responded to a report of a break-in at Tickleberry’s on Skaha Lake. A safe was removed and a quantity of cash was taken. The safe was found by police a few blocks away, with the cash missing.

The Sudbury Beach concession stand was also found to be broken into the same morning. The cash register was stolen and a small quantity of cash was taken.

“If they know there’s 20 bucks in the till, if they know there’s something, they are going to break in,” Dellebuur said. “You’ve got your chips and your chocolate bars, and sometimes kids will break in for that. But if you’ve got money in there, you become a target.”

Dellebuur said the concession stands become a target when cash is left on site overnight. Because they aren’t full-time business, and many close late, they don’t deposit their cash in a bank at the end of the day.

“So long as there is cash going to be left on the site, they become a problem. Once they’ve done it once, they come back again,” Dellebuur said.

The stands are also easy for would-be thieves to scope out during the day.

“If you’re running a store, you know who’s coming into your store for the most part, but those concession booths, you know what they’re like, people can just hang around and just watch,” Dellebuur said. “Take the one down at Skaha, for example. You can just stand out there and sit around and watch, chat with the girls inside, the guys inside that are working.”