Thousands lost during recent B&Es

Shannon Leginus stands behind her garage door after thieves broke in and stole a dirt bike and tools before entering her home and making off with what she estimates as $20,000 worth of valuables.  - Tim Fitzgerald/The News
Shannon Leginus stands behind her garage door after thieves broke in and stole a dirt bike and tools before entering her home and making off with what she estimates as $20,000 worth of valuables.
— image credit: Tim Fitzgerald/The News

Homeowners in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows have lost thousands of dollars to thieves in the past week during a rash of brazen daytime break-and-enters.

A neighbourhood in Pitt Meadows, bordered by Wildwood Crescent and Hammond Road, logged four break-ins last week, with two taking place on Tuesday, Nov. 20 and one each the following Sunday and Monday.

Maple Ridge residents Robert Fitz-James and his wife Shannon were targeted Monday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. while they were at her pregnancy Ultrasound.

The thief, or thieves, pried open the side garage door and slide door to enter their Burnett Street property.

"They must have been watching the house," said Fitz-James.

The thieves stole his wife's engagement ring, a 2003 Honda XR80R dirt bike, a red Xbox 360, his mother-in-law's jewelry, three laptops and his son's Lego.

In total, the loot was worth more than $10,000.

It's mostly the sentimental things, like the engagement ring, that hurt the most to lose, he said.

Ridge Meadows RCMP confirmed there have been a string of break-ins recently, mostly targeting computer equipment and jewelry.

Police said the items being stolen can be pawned or flipped easily. The crimes are, most likely, fuelled by drug addiction, police said.

The detachment's street enforcement team is pursuing leads.

One of the break-ins on Nov. 20 was interrupted. The man fled before police arrived and a gold-coloured car was seen in the area.

Cpl. Alanna Dunlop said homeowners need to take precautions to make it more difficult for thieves to enter homes.

She recommended sturdy locks, alarms and – the most effective measure - looking out for your neighbours.

"Look out not only for your own property, but your neighbours. When everybody chips in, it makes for a better and safer neighbourhood," said Dunlop.

Police also recommend joining the Neighbourhood Block Watch program.

• To learn more about Block Watch, call Clint Van Blanken at 604-465-2402 in Pitt Meadows and Charlene Winter at 604-463-6251 in Maple Ridge.

Rings found

Ridge Meadows RCMP are looking for the owner of eight rings that may have been stolen during a recent break-in.

The rings were found by a general duty officer during a traffic stop, but police believe they were stolen from either a jewelry store or a home.

"The rings all appear to belong to a female, or a number of women, and the suspect could not explain why he was in possession of them," said Cpl. Alanna Dunlop.

"We're asking for anyone who has recently had women's rings stolen, to speak with our investigator and see if any of these rings belong to them."

The rings will be held for three months at the Ridge Meadows RCMP Detachment.

• For more information, call Const. Lewis Walker at 604-463-6251.

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