Salmon Arm resident wakes up to find thief standing in living room at 3 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2021. (File photo)

Salmon Arm resident wakes up to find thief standing in living room at 3 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2021. (File photo)

Salmon Arm RCMP nab break-and-enter suspect after chase from living room

Locking doors recommended after thief targets vehicles, houses

Salmon Arm resident Kevin New happened to be awake at 3 a.m. New Year’s Day when he heard the sound of his garage door opening.

He thought it was strange, but surmised maybe his son was returning home from skating. He looked out the window, but didn’t see his son’s truck.

New went downstairs, looked around, closed the garage door and locked the inside door. He went back upstairs to see if there were any footprints in the snow coming up the driveway, but none were visible.

It wasn’t until the morning when his spouse Patti was at the door talking to Kevin Flynn, who lives a street behind their Third Avenue SE home, that New heard what had led to the garage door opening.

Flynn was at the News’ door that morning because he was following the trail of a thief who had broken into his home about 3 a.m. and stolen three wallets and a set of truck keys. He was looking for items such as stolen credit cards the thief had dropped.

Read more: Strangers come together to replace kids’ bikes stolen in Penticton

Read more: Improving tip quality goal for North Okanagan-Shuswap Crimestoppers

Flynn explained that he happens to be a light sleeper and heard a noise in his living room. He was worried about his dog who had eaten almonds earlier that night – which aren’t good for dogs, so he thought maybe his son had taken the family pet outside.

He got up, groggy, clad in his underwear, and was shocked by what he found.

“It was someone standing right there in my living room… I hollered at him and he went ripping out the back door.”

Flynn immediately called 911.

He said the thief must have been cocky or stupid, because it turned out he continued to try to steal from unlocked vehicles and a home.

Flynn was impressed by the police response. He said officers arrived within 10 minutes and, within about another 15, they had made an arrest. A man who was in possession of two of the three stolen wallets (one without contents) as well as the vehicle keys was arrested nearby on Okanagan Avenue.

New looked at his house surveillance cameras after hearing Flynn’s story and came to the same conclusion. He said police were about 10 minutes behind the thief during their first video appearance and then came back 15 minutes later, backtracking along his trail.

“I think they did an awesome job.”

Read more: Theft-related charges deliver accused 140 days in jail

Read more: Off-duty officer witnesses armed robbery at Salmon Arm liquor store

Both Flynn and New offer a ‘public service announcement,’ as Flynn called it. Lock your house and vehicle doors.

That night Flynn had inadvertently locked only four of his home’s five doors, while one of the News’ two vehicles was also left unlocked. The thief managed to open the News’ garage door because coincidentally that day, one of the phones that open the garage was not working, so a temporary replacement opener had been left in the vehicle.

New also noticed the thief had checked under the house doormat for a key before checking the vehicle doors.

Flynn said, thanks to the perseverance of his spouse which kept them searching in the snow for about four hours over two days, they were able to locate the third wallet and all the credit cards and important ID that the thief had dropped.

He also appreciates the RCMP offering the support of Victims Services, because until his family managed to recover their belongings, they were feeling violated and thinking what a bad beginning to 2021 this was.

“It was shocking, a horrible way to start, but you couldn’t have a better ending.”

Flynn adds a little humour to the tale of two Kevins.

“I don’t know who was more scared, me finding somebody in my house, or the thief seeing a 60-year-old in his underwear.”


marthawickett@saobserver.net
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