'Horrific' crime spree plagues Nanaimo Boys & Girls Club

By Ian Holmes
October 16, 2017 - 2:28pm

Vehicles like this have been constantly damaged and had gas stolen.Boys and Girls Club

NANAIMO — Persistent property crime is having a huge impact on a Nanaimo non-profit organization which provides critical services to hundreds of local children.

Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island executive director Ian Kalina said for more than a year they have been struggling with constant thefts and damage to their vehicles. Siphoning gas appears to be the most popular activity for thieves.

“It's going into the thousands of dollars as far as how much gas they're stealing because we have buses that haul our kids. Those are really big gas tanks (and) even though we don't fill them anymore they're still taking a lot.”

Kalina said it's been an issue at all of their Nanaimo area locations, with their Fifth St. location the hardest hit.

He said it's been especially “horrific” lately, with 10 such incidents in the last three weeks. Kalina told NanaimoNewsNOW they have to juggle resources since damaged vehicles are constantly off the road getting fixed.

“Our biggest worry is if we get hit even harder and all of our vehicles get immobilized, then what? So we're really hoping to get a solution more quickly than what we've gotten to so far, but something has got to be done.”

Kalina said all of their prevention efforts have been thwarted. A mounted security camera was stolen, perimeter fencing damaged and locked gas caps destroyed.

He's pondering the idea of organizing a community forum to discuss solutions to property crime.

“We're trying to look at how we can look to bring in professionals to help us try and deal with the problem, let's try and put our collective hats on and see if there's a better solution.”

Nanaimo RCMP Cst. Gary O'Brien said the Boys and Girls Club is “in a tough position” because criminals favour the organization's Fifth St. location.

“They're next to a railway track where there's free movement of activity, there's not a lot of eyes on the property and sometimes criminals go in there and take advantage of that,” O'Brien said.

He said further improved security features would help mitigate crime impacting the organization.

The Boys and Girls Club provides before and after school childcare, pre-school and specialized youth services for upwards of 500 Nanaimo area kids.

 

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