Benchlands robbed six times in two months 

One victim spreads picture of thief through e-mail, Facebook to alert others

click to enlarge A security camera image from the Woodrun Lodge of a man sought in connection with a break-in that took place Monday, Jan. 5. Photo submitted by Carrie O'Reilly
  • A security camera image from the Woodrun Lodge of a man sought in connection with a break-in that took place Monday, Jan. 5. Photo submitted by Carrie O'Reilly

Carrie O’Reilly said she is frustrated that she has not heard more from the RCMP about the spate of robberies going on at the Benchlands.

In the past two months O’Reilly’s employer — Woodrun Lodge — has been hit twice. Four other buildings on Spearhead Drive and Painted Cliff Road have also been robbed.

The latest break-in happened on Monday, Jan. 5. The entire crime was caught on the lodge’s security camera.

“We have great footage of him breaking in and with my computer under his arm as he walks out,” said O’Reilly, who submitted the tape to Whistler’s RCMP.

Based on the video, 15 minutes after O’Reilly locked up at 10:30 p.m. an unknown man entered her office using a key. He spent two hours inside the lodge before leaving with a computer, cash and keys.

Other buildings robbed include Wildwood Lodge, the Aspens and the Marquise.

Judy Morris, of The Aspens, said a thief pried open the laundry room door and then used a screwdriver to get into the main office. He or she then stole her laptop, brief case, and a set of keys only useful to the strata.

“It is not so much that they have taken things, it is more the total inconvenience of the whole thing,” said Morris.

“What are they going to do with an old lap top? It is only worth $400 or $500. Everything else is a waste of their time.”

And Diane Maskell from the Wildwood said someone broke into a locker in their building two weeks ago and stole new bed sheets.

The RCMP investigated each case separately. But officers did not issue a public alert because they were not aware the crimes were part of a wave of robberies until Pique ’s inquiry this week, said Sgt. Steve Wright.

“The new information system that we are using right now is not user friendly to allow us to do that,” said Wright when asked why RCMP officers were not aware of the pattern.

“We have a system in place now that is more proactive in tracking crime trends.”

Now that this information has come to light, Wright said RCMP officers will be putting together an operational plan to address thefts on the Benchlands.

In the meantime, O’Reilly has taken matters into her own hands to warn others. On Friday, Jan. 9, she sent out a mass e-mail to every property manager and vendor she knows in Whistler. The e-mail includes a picture of the alleged thief that was taken from her security camera footage.

She is also using the image as her profile picture on Facebook.

“If we were aware, we could have helped prevent these things,” said O’Reilly. “I am hoping this helps.”

O’Reilly said part of the reason she started the e-mail campaign was because of her frustration with the RCMP since Woodrun’s robbery last Monday, Jan. 5.

“I called the RCMP Tuesday morning at around 7:30 a.m., and they attended immediately, but they obviously had been very busy because another officer came by later and looked at the pictures I had,” said O’Reilly.

“Then I did not hear anything back from them until (Thursday, Jan. 8.)… They said ‘Have you managed to drop off the cameras yet?’ and I told him that I had already given the cameras to the RCMP on Tuesday.”

O’Reilly said the RCMP officer found the video footage already on his desk.

Wright said such delays for RCMP response are common, depending on what shifts officers are working.

He added that the video footage has since been sent out to all members of the Whistler RCMP detachment and a suspect has been identified.

“The quality (of the videos), because the subject is wearing a hat, may make identification difficult, but we do have a name of a possible suspect that we are following up on,” said Wright.

“The other (robberies), considering they are all in this immediate area, would make him a good suspect for the other areas as well.”

The RCMP are warning people in Whistler to be extra diligent locking their doors and windows, and to report any suspicious activity to officers.

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