There’s challenges to rural living in places like the Pend D’Oreille, no doubt. But the most frustrating, by far, is the threat from two-legged mammals who are only there to steal from hardworking homesteaders.
“It’s just a shame that you have to go from a lifestyle without having to worry about these guys,” began Waneta-Nelway resident Jim Urquhart. “To a lifestyle, now, where you have to have everything locked up and equipment secured.”
After having his truck stolen from the family carport two years ago, Jim’s expensive ATV (all-terrain vehicle) was stolen from his shed on Saturday. At the time, unbeknownst to Jim, the theft was committed while he and his wife were in the house.
“The quad was in the shed, you can’t see it from the road,” he said. “Now we will have to keep chains and more locks on things and every time we have to jump on the ATV to use it, we have to take time to unchain it. It’s just gotten ridiculous.”
Jim brought up a paramount reason about why his keys are left in vehicle ignitions.
“I would rather the thief steal my (vehicle) than come into my house looking for keys,” he said. “That is a red line, I do not want that person coming into my house.”
After the Urquhart’s two-seat ATV was stolen sometime between Friday night and Saturday, another ATV was reported stolen from a Highway 3B property on Sunday.
While it’s unknown if the same culprit committed both thefts, Urquhart says, “It should matter to people to help catch this guy because it could happen to them as well. It’s just a shame.”
By Wednesday, neither machine had been located, confirmed RCMP Sgt. Darren Oelke of the Greater Trail detachment.
The vehicles are worth thousands of dollars, and recovery can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
In many cases ATVs do not require a registration or licence, Oelke explained.
“When it comes to ATVs, if they are going to be used on forestry roads, then they require to be registered and have a licence plate on them from an ICBC agent,” he said.
“If they are used on your own property and not on any Crown land, or where people have access, they do not need to be licensed.”
He says it is important for all owners to keep records of their property, such as photographs and the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
“With a VIN or serial number, we can enter the vehicle on CPIC as stolen,” Oelke said. “If the VIN is then checked by the police we can determine that it is, in fact, stolen. When the ATVs are registered with ICBC the VIN numbers are easy to find.”
Unfortunately most people do not have records of their VIN numbers, which makes it more difficult for the police to recover or prove items were stolen, said Oelke.
“I know many people have had success in posting their stolen items on Facebook, and similar social media sites, to get the word out.”
He added, “We live in a very safe area but we are not without our element of crime and criminals. People should always make their best effort to secure valuables and protect their property.”
The Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) is the central police database where Canada’s law enforcement agencies can access information on a number of matters.