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Burglaries on the rise: police
Suspects recently released from jail, trying to support addictions, RCMP say

Daniel Campbell
Northern News Services
Published Friday, November 29, 2013

Recently released numbers from Yellowknife RCMP show a spike in burglaries during the month of October.

NNSL photo/graphic

Edward But, owner of Coyote's Steakhouse and Lounge, had his business broken into on Tuesday. He found the suspect in the bar and chased him away. - Daniel Campbell/NNSL photo

The city experienced at least 23 incidences of break and enters last month, compared to eight last October. There has been a total of 118 break and enters into homes and businesses in Yellowknife so far this year, according to RCMP statistics.

Insp. Frank Gallagher, Yellowknife RCMP detachment commander, said police have four suspects in custody for breaking and entering over the last month who were recently released from jail.

"They're being released from prison, and going back to their way of life," Gallagher said.

Many of the perpetrators are drug addicts, Gallagher added. He said they often steal to support their habits.

RCMP executed a drug bust in Yellowknife on Nov. 20, seizing a large amount of cash and crack-cocaine. Gallagher said police have two people in custody and will be releasing details of the incident soon. In addition to the drugs and cash, Gallagher said police found what they believe to be a large amount of stolen goods.

"The people doing break and enters will take the stuff to their crack dealers," Gallagher said.

Some of the items found include tablet computers, MP3 players and other expensive electronics.

"That's why we're assuming it's stolen," he added.

Edward But, owner of Coyote's Steakhouse and Lounge on Range Lake Road, recently had his business broken in to. After receiving a phone call from his alarm company around 4:40 a.m. Tuesday, But raced down to his restaurant to find the suspect still inside.

"I came in, opened the door, confronted the culprit and chased him outside," But said.

RCMP showed up moments later and continued the chase. RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Marc Coulombe said police lost track of the suspect and are still investigating the matter.

The upswing in break and enters coincides with a number of minor thefts in the city. Last month, there were 47 reports of theft under $5,000, versus 27 in October of last year.

Gallagher said as colder weather sets, in people with addictions may become more desperate, grabbing at whatever they can find.

"People should remember to keep their vehicle doors locked because they will go through them if they have the opportunity," Gallagher said.

The total number of break and enters and thefts under $5,000 are more or less on par with last year. There were 156 break and enters in Yellowknife in 2012, compared to 118 so far this year. Five-hundred-and-sixty-five thefts under $5,000 were reported to Yellowknife RCMP in 2012, compared to 523 so far this year.

Although But's business has been broken into before, he said he's not too worried about security in the city.

"Obviously, (the culprits) don't get much because we're quick to respond," But said.

"The RCMP response time is phenomenal as well."

Coulombe warns people to wait for police to arrive before responding to intrusion alarms.

"As a matter of public safety, we recommend people don't go barging into a building," he said.

"Wait for police to arrive and check the building."

But said he feels privileged to be in Yellowknife where people help each other confront crime. The morning of the offence, a City Cab driver was parked outside Coyote's when the robber fled.

"Most places are kind of apathetic, or turn a blind eye," But said.

"This guy just took off after him in his cab. I have to give kudos to the driver."

Police traced the suspect's tracks to behind the Wal-Mart, but lost the trail when the footprints went into the parking lot.

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