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Missing bench the last straw

Guy Quenneville
Northern News Services
Friday, May 18, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - The theft of a prized bench has finally pushed one downtown business owner to install security cameras in the front entrance of his building.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Dr. Hassan Adam sits on a bench identical to the one that was stolen from his clinic three weeks ago. The theft was last straw for Dr. Adam. After 27 years of business, security cameras were installed at the front of his building this week. - Guy Quenneville/NNSL photo

"It's frustrating that it's come to this," said Dr. Hassan Adam of the Adam Dental Clinic, eyeing one of two security cameras that were placed this week under the roof of his clinic.

Dr. Hassan, who has been operating in Yellowknife for 27 years, said he has tried to avoid installing cameras.

But a 25-pound wooden decorative garden bench posted was stolen from outside the clinic's front entrance three weeks ago.

"During the summer, we see quite a lot of people sitting there. You can smell the flowers in the garden."

The bench was the latest in a string of vandalism acts, including commemorative plaques being ripped from the wall, Christmas lights yanked from the roof and flowers torn from the garden.

"It's petty crime, but I think it deters a lot of the businesses from wanting to do good stuff outside. That's why I think there are fewer people who go ahead and spend the time and the money to put things that make the outside look nice because there is this vandalism that spoils it."

The bench also happened to have some sentimental value to Dr. Adam.

"It was a gift from Darwin and Roland Rudkevitch of Arctic Farmer Landscaping. They gave us two benches so that people could sit down and enjoy the flowers."

Dr. Adam is offering a reward as an incentive to bring the missing bench back.

RCMP Constable Roxanne Dreilich said she thinks Dr. Adam's offer to the public is a good, if rare, idea, but also recommends another measure.

"When property theft happens, we always encourage the victims to report it to the RCMP. That way, if we recover a stolen item and it matches the description of a stolen item, we can easily match it."