Photo: Isabey Houses
A Kelowna construction company has lost more than $200,000 worth of work equipment in the past six months, and a burglary earlier this week led it to consider another $100,000 loss in stolen equipment.
Michelle Watson, project manager at Isabey Home, couldn’t believe how many things had been stolen from a $2 million renovation property on Lakeshore Road last Monday, but she says it’s nothing new for industry.
“It’s atrocious. I know someone who gets punched almost every night of the week. Even if you engage security, good thieves follow security and as soon as they check the place they enter right after them, it’s non-stop,” Watson said.
With vacant urban land next to the renovation site, the thieves were able to cut the fence and back their vehicle through the gap, where they could load stolen property onto the site.
“It’s frustrating for all of us. We have lots of friends in the construction industry and everyone loses things. Our outside company had all of their saws stolen,” Watson said. “Our flooring guy, they took his trailer with all his tools.”
Watson believes the robberies are organized crime committed by people who know what they are doing. Not only did the thieves steal everything they could get their hands on, but they made themselves at home on the site, cooking food, taking showers and even doing manscaping.
“They cleaned everything up. We lost light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, they took furniture, all bedding, sheets, towels, toothbrushes, pool balls, pool cues, they made sandwiches, took golf clubs, barbecues, etc.
The RCMP called in a forensic unit to investigate the crime scene, collect fingerprints and wrap up anything that could lead them to an arrest. But Watson says police are just as frustrated as she is with the rise in construction crime.
“They catch them, but then they go through the court system and they just get a slap on the wrist. There’s no penalty for what they do, really,” she said. “So these people end up doing the same thing over and over again, without learning any lessons. It will end up hurting someone. Someone will catch them and lose their temper.
Isabey Homes has experienced five break-ins and burglaries in the past six months.
Photo: Isabey Houses