Thieves targeting vehicles

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 09, 2014 08:23 am

Jennifer Fraser’s Dodge Caravan went missing while parked in front of their Okotoks home. Okotoks RCMP report 31 vehicles stolen in town in the last 90 days.
Jennifer Fraser’s Dodge Caravan went missing while parked in front of their Okotoks home. Okotoks RCMP report 31 vehicles stolen in town in the last 90 days.
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A moment of distraction for an Okotoks family became an opportunity of crime.

Always diligent about locking her home and vehicles, Jennifer Fraser returned home on April 1 at 7:30 p.m. after spending 40 hours at the hospital with her son Ryann. The next morning the family’s light blue 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan was missing.

“That was an absolute fluke,” Frasher said. “It was only because we were just getting home from the hospital and had been awake for 40 hours.”

Fraser said Ryann was rushed to hospital in Calgary by ambulance on March 31 with abdomin pains in what the doctors discovered to be a large kidney stone. Fraser and her husband Blair returned home the evening of April 1, parked the van in front of the home and helped Ryann inside. It wasn’t until the next morning that they noticed the van missing and realized they must have left it unlocked overnight, said Fraser.

“The next morning my husband comes in and says, ‘Where did we park the van?’” she said. “It was sickening. It was more sickening that somebody with that mindset was right outside the door. That night I couldn’t sleep. Every car that would go through the alley I was like, ‘Oh my God they’re back.”

Fraser said she finds it difficult to believe a crime like this could happen close to home. Her family lived in the community for about 10 years.

“Locke Crescent to me was an oasis,” she said. “I can look out my window and see a herd of deer and children playing and all of a sudden this bad guy encroached on my oasis. It’s just a shock that it happened here.”

Fraser said a spare key was kept in the glove box and her husband left his wallet and cell phone in the vehicle. They tried to track the phone but it had been turned off.

Fraser said she and her husband are diligent about locking their home and vehicles and unplugging appliances they aren’t using like the coffee maker.

“We’re the kind that stand at the window and double click (the vehicle remote) to make sure we locked it,” she said.

Okotoks RCMP Sgt. Donna Rorison said in the last 90 days 31 vehicles were reported stolen in Okotoks, and about triple that number reported stolen from other communities and recovered in Okotoks.

“One in every three days in this community is high,” she said.

Not all of the vehicles stolen have been found, she said.

“The longer it is gone the less likely it is we are going to locate it,” she said. “Those turn out to be ditched in an obscure spot or they are stripped down for parts.”

Rorison said the RCMP would like to remind Okotoks residents to lock their vehicles and hide valuables.

“If (the criminals) don’t have a means to get into your vehicle without breaking glass they are probably going to go down the street and get another,” she said. “I know this stuff sounds basic but people forget about it.”

Another preventative measure is to inform neighbours if you plan to be away for an extended period of time and to report any suspicious behavior, she said.

“This idea you are bothering us by giving us information seems to be very common,” she said. “You may be sleeping at three in the morning but we are out there working. There will be as much crime in your community as you tolerate. As soon as people get tired of people stealing their stuff and damaging their property they start to phone us.”

Despite the unfortunate situation, Fraser said she is keeping a positive attitude.

“We are going to just keep moving on,” she said. “I know people who lost so much in the flood last year.”

The Frasers’ insurance company provided the family a vehicle temporarily.

She said the company didn’t give her much hope the van will return home untouched.

“I was told by insurance if they haven’t found it chances are it’s trashed or long gone,” she said. “She said a lot of times they never see it again. If they do find it it’s usually been completely trashed and is completely undriveable and they just write it off. Now we have to wait – does the car come back or do we get a new vehicle?”


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