The Beaver Valley Scouts have relied on bottle drives to help fund outings and projects over the years but a spate of recent thefts might leave them short of cash for an upcoming trip.
In a recent incident over the May long weekend an estimated $400 worth of recyclable materials was lost to bottle thieves.
Area scouts have been raising money to help pay part of the $1,000 per person cost of attending the Canadian National Jamboree, which is being held in Sylvan Lake, Alta., the second week of July.
Because these gatherings only happen every four years the anticipation for the local troops has been growing as the date grew nearer, now the kids will have to work a little harder to cover the cost.
“The kids are understandably upset,” said local scout volunteer, Heather Hamer. “It’s just that much more money that they’re going to have to raise before they can go on their trip.”
Hamer said that people have been dropping off bottles and cans at her property in Beaver Falls for years to support the trip and Camp Tweedsmuir, the local the scout camp in Fruitvale.
The materials are stored until they can be sorted and taken in for recycling.
The first loss occurred only last year when a couple of bags were taken. This year the thieves have stepped up their activity.
“We’ve been hit three times,” said Hamer. “Half of our latest bottle drive is gone.”
The incidents have been reported to the RCMP and Hamer is waiting to hear if anyone has been questioned on the matter.
“We have had two incidents reported from the same location, both occurring in early June,” said Sgt. Rob Hawton of the Trail and Greater District RCMP.
He added the police are following up on leads but refused to disclose any further information for fear of hindering the investigation.
Although some of the thefts have taken place at night, some have apparently occurred in broad daylight.
“I saw a truck stopped outside, then a guy just walked into the yard and took a box of bottles,” Hamer said. “I mean I understand if you want to give them away and leave them at your curb people will pick them up but they’re coming right onto our property and taking them from under a shelter.”
Hamer says these don’t appear to be isolated incidents as, in her travels around the area, she has heard of numerous similar thefts happening all around the Greater Trail area, many of them in daylight hours.