Thefts in the Yale Road West industrial area have become an ongoing headache for business owners nearby.
When one owner recently caught thieves on video it was no surprise. But what was surprising was seeing a young boy tagging along with two adult males as they crawled through a hole in a fence.
“I was shocked,” John David Siebenga of Exxel Truck & Equipment Sales said. “It just shocked me.”
Siebenga said they are frequently the target of thieves who steal commercial truck batteries and other parts.
“It’s mostly commercial truck batteries, in the past it’s been diesel siphoned out,” he said. “Another time it was a DPF filter, it’s kind of like a catalytic converter. Those are very pricey, like $5,000. The damage was a $12,000 ICBC claim.”
So Siebenga puts up cameras in various places on the lot, usually in hidden spots. He aimed one camera right at fence on Yale Road West where a hole had been cut in a fence.
The video shows three people and an off-leash dog approach. As the first adult male starts to come in through the fence, a voice can be heard.
“Can I fit in there with this bag?” asks the boy with a backpack, who appears to be about 10.
“You fit in there with yours,” he then says as he sees the first adult male goes through the fence.
“Is that a camera?” another voice says as the camera is spotted and then removed. And, yes, stolen.
“At first when I saw it I thought they had a midget with them,” Siebenga said. “Then I heard the kid talking and thought, you’ve got to be kidding me. He brought his kid?”
Chilliwack RCMP have been informed of the incident but a few days after reporting, Siebenga said he hadn’t heard back.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) cannot confirm if they are involved in this or any given case for privacy reasons, but instead emailed a statement.
“It is the public’s duty to report any situation in which a child may be at risk, which could include being involved in suspected criminal activity. In addition to determining whether the child is in need of protection, the Ministry of Children and Family Development would work closely with police in any criminal investigation.
“Each and every time the ministry is contacted we look into the circumstances, assess the risk to the child and the parent’s ability to provide care. Based on those findings, we would take the most appropriate course of action to help ensure the child’s safety and protect their best interests.”
As for the thefts, Siebenga said he is very frustrated with the lack of action. The individual going through the fence in the video has been stealing from Exxel repeatedly, yet Siebenga is told by police that thieves need to be caught in the act.
Others have complained to The Progress about repeated thefts in that area of Yale Road West and Atchelitz Road and Chalmer Place.
And even though the thieves stole Siebenga’s camera, he’s got others and he’s hoping maybe this incident will finally be a deterrent.
“I’m sure the guy is aware of it by now and I’m hoping he’s not going to come back.”