Thieves caught on home security video
by Derek Cornet
After a security camera captured footage of two people dressed in matching tracksuits breaking into a locked vehicle early one morning last week, a Meadow Lake woman feels the public no longer owns the streets.
The morning of May 26 began as usual at the Rolfe residence on 4th Avenue West until Lesley Rolfe received a call from her husband telling her their vehicle had been broken into. Since the Rolfes have been victims of crime on several occasions in the past, last fall the family decided to install security cameras on their property to catch potential thieves in the act.
“I lived in Edmonton for 12 years and I never had to file a police report once,” Rolfe said. “Since I moved to Meadow Lake seven years ago, I’ve made six reports.”
Just after 5 a.m. on the day in question, video footage shows two individuals dressed in red tracksuits approach Rolfe’s property from the street. While one person uses a tool to unlock a vehicle and proceed to search for valuables, his or her accomplice checks for open doors on other vehicles and uses a flashlight to look inside. The accomplice also takes a moment to attempt to gain entry into the family’s garage.
“When I watched the video of them checking the doors and going through our vehicle, it was horrible,” Rolfe said. “It really shook me up. If for whatever reason the garage door had been open or they broke in, they could have come into our house while we were sleeping.”
While the incident was reported to the Meadow Lake RCMP, Rolfe said she has little faith anything will happen. Having been victimized multiple times without justice being served, she feels the community no longer belongs to the residents. After reviewing the video, she also feels the break-in could have been the work of organized crime and she’s convinced gang activity is taking place in the city.
“I don’t know what can be done to stop it,” Rolfe said. “People are beginning to talk about taking matters into their own hands – about waiting for these people and catching them themselves.”
Rolfe also expressed her desire for the RCMP to be more proactive against crime. She feels the detachment relies on a complaint-based system, which acts on crime once it’s already been committed. Throughout the night of May 26, she claimed the street outside her home lacked any police presence.
“These people walked up to my place – without a care in the world – with bright red jumpsuits during the day,” Rolfe said. “They’re sending a message.”
Meadow Lake RCMP Cpl. Ryan How said, while the detachment has documented incidents of gang activity in the community, he’s doubtful the individuals captured on Rolfe’s camera are involved with a gang. How did note, however, he has never seen people commit a crime while wearing matching outfits.
“Whatever the rationale, we can’t say specifically,” How said. “I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about.”
How said there’s a core group of offenders in Meadow Lake who the RCMP keeps tabs on. He also noted those on house arrest are also checked by officers to ensure they’re not breaching their conditions. In the community, How said young people are responsible for the majority of vehicle break-ins.