After years of frustration, business owners in a Maple Ridge industrial park are hopeful that video images of thieves at work will result in arrests.
The News published a story last week about a thief who could be seen on camera stealing a trailer from Elemental Surface Restoration, which is located on 115A Avenue.
Soon there were calls from other businesses in the area, which is located just east of Golden Ears Way as drivers exit the Golden Ears Bridge.
They describe a plague of bandits stealing trailers and vehicles, breaking into businesses, all while virtually waving at security cameras.
“It’s been an absolute nightmare,” said Hooman Abshar of Ultra Tune Automotive. “I have multiple RCMP officers’ business cards.”
Incredibly, an engine that was delivered to the business was stolen. Thieves attempted to remove catalytic converters from vehicles. A customer’s truck was actually stolen before it had been repaired, and broke down a block away.
Abshar has video of a thief sitting in a boat trying to siphon gas. “He left a huge mess.”
He had to put a fence around the business, at a cost of $6,000 to $7,000, to slow the bandits down. It has definitely helped, he said.
“It’s tough to work so hard, and have your livelihood taken from you like that,” he said.
Nearby, Certified Autosound and Security lost $60,000 worth of stock after a break-in during January 2020. Manager Tyler Neault said the thieves broke into the Red Cross building in the unit next door, which did not sound any alarms. They then cut their way through a wall to get into the Certified shop.
Security video shows the thieves coming and going
“They were in and out of here the whole weekend,” said Neault.
There was also a clear image of their BMW, and a “super clear” picture of the culprit. So far, there have been no arrests.
The store has been broken into three times in the past four years, he said.
On March 12, a week before the theft of the trailer at Elemental Surface Restoration, a trailer was also stolen from Stonecutter Concrete Cutting on 201A Street.
The same truck was used in both trailer thefts, the earlier theft at Stone also used a stolen company truck. They had three locks on the trailer, and all were cut off.
They lost $75,000 worth of concrete cutting equipment. A company spokesman said they have been breaking into this shop for three years, and the business has multiple files with the RCMP. Some of the stolen items include specialized tools of the trade which would be useful to a very limited number of people, he said.
“There is definitely a crew working the area,” was his assessment.
He said it is a “terrible hit” for a small business to suddenly lose tools and other equipment vital to their work, and insurance doesn’t always cover the losses.
For example, when he lost his heavy trailer, insurance offered him $40 per day to rent a replacement.
“You can’t rent a bike for $40 a day,” he laughed.
He is hopeful that a suspect can be identified.
“The police should have a pretty good trail,” he said.
Const. Julie Klaussner of Ridge Meadows RCMP said they are still working on theses cases: “Ridge Meadows RCMP confirms they are investigating two recent trailer thefts. No arrests have been made yet and the investigation is ongoing.”
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