Midway RCMP are investigating a break-in at Greenwood’s South Gold Storage on Saturday night, Oct. 10. Cpl. Phil Peters said thieves may have used an aerial drone to profile a utility vehicle, or “side-by-side,” and a bicycle stolen from a padlocked trailer inside the facility.
“It’s definitely not a stretch,” Peters told The Times. “People use drones, sometimes, for other than good things.”
Drone-operators are not required to display identifying features on their machines, which can have a fly-over radius of up to two kilometres, according to Peters.
Victim Larry Bartsch said he noticed a drone flying over his Greenwood property as he loaded his orange 2012 Arctic Cat and blue cruiser bike onto a trailer he hauled to South Gold Storage a week before the theft.
“I never really thought about it until I started putting two and two together,” he said.
Cpl. Peters confirmed that thieves cut locks to other units inside South Gold Storage, but took property only from Bartsch’s trailer.
“They emptied the whole trailer to get to the side-by-side,” Batsch said. “They took out a full box of tools — never opened it; never touched anything. They stacked everything neatly. They didn’t damage anything. They just wanted to get to that side-by-side.”
Midway RCMP’s Const. Chris Hanson recovered Bartsch’s stolen cruiser from a Greenwood property Wednesday, Oct. 21. A homeowner found the bicycle under some bushes, according to Cpl. Peters.
Bartsch said he was “ecstatic” to have his bike back, but he doesn’t expect to see his side-by-side. “It’s gone,” he said.
Thieves commonly break stolen vehicles into parts, which Peters said are difficult for police to trace.
“The easiest thing to do, if you don’t want to get caught, is part it out,” he said.
Midway RCMP are asking anyone with information about the theft to call BC Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.