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Rash of break and enters in Iqaluit

Keep doors locked, say police

Jennifer McPhee
Northern News Services

Iqaluit (Apr 29/02) - After a string of break and enters in Iqaluit, police are warning people to lock their doors when not at home.

Between April 2 and April 21, thieves broke into six homes, taking carvings, liquor, and electronics -- "anything easily pawned, drank or sold," said RCMP Cpl. Bob Pilot.

"Booze is a very big target," he said, adding that "six in two weeks is a definite problem."

The robberies took place during the day. And in all but one case, thieves entered homes through unlocked doors. Most of the thefts were in the 2500-2600 blocks.

Pilot said a string of break and enters, especially in the same area, generally means the same person or group is responsible.

"We're urging the public to notice people, skulking around," said Pilot.

Four businesses were also robbed at night from April 4 to April 19.

Doug Lem's house, located in the 2600 area, was robbed on April 15 in broad daylight.

The thieves took money, carvings, a DVD player, his sister's wedding band, a jewelry box and an irreplaceable Chinese gold chain. His door was locked, which helps for insurance, but now he has to replace his door frames.

Since the incident his sister is petrified and refuses to enter the house unless someone checks it out first.

"Someone's been through her stuff, she's been violated," said Lem.

To counter the theft problem in Iqaluit, Mayor John Matthews recently asked Sgt. Kirke Hopkins about starting a community watch program in Iqaluit.

Lem said he thinks the community watch program is a good idea, but is taking the extra precaution of installing an expensive alarm system.

"I have no choice," he said.

Pilot said a good community watch program must be started by community members. "You can't force anything down people's throats," he said, adding that people haven't shown interest before, partly because Iqaluit doesn't have defined neighbourhoods.

But if a group of people want to start one, the police will help out, he added.