Vandals ransack Pemberton store 

Sting of incidents has plagued valley over several months

The Lilypad Second Hand Store is the latest victim of a string of crimes that have been hitting Pemberton in the past three months.

The store, which is located on Prospect Street near the offices of the Pemberton Valley Dyking District, was ransacked and flooded on the evening of Friday, Oct. 10, causing $5,000 in damage according to a news release from the RCMP.

Carol Pettit, a co-owner of the store with Ross Edwards, said her partner discovered the damage on Saturday morning and informed her after talking to the police.

“It was just horrendous,” she said. “Everything and anything that could have been pulled off the shelves, bookcases were pulled over, books were everywhere.”

Pettit also said the vandals had shoved clothing into the toilet and sink, blocked the waterflow and turned taps on. Water then leaked into the storage room and downstairs the vandals had unleashed a fire extinguisher, covering “everything” in a white film.

“My partner spent all week vacuuming downstairs,” she said. “It was coated on everything, this white stuff, so it all had to be vacuumed. …We’re talking every shirt, every T-shirt had to be vacuumed.”

The only thing stolen from the store was the Children’s Wish Fund, according to Pettit, and the rest was “absolute chaos.” It took the assistance of a lot of people within the community just to clean it up.

“I had a lot of help at the beginning because it took all day of several people just so we could walk around the store,” she said.

This incident is not the first at the Lilypad and comes a months after thieves broke in through a back window and stole the store’s float on Sept. 12. It’s also the latest in a string of vandalism acts that Pettit said has been happening since July’s Pemberton Festival.

Thieves also broke into The Nursery, another store in Pemberton, on Aug. 30 and stole some cash.

Over the weekend of the festival there were two incidents within the village — one at the Mount Currie Coffee Company, where again some money was stolen, the other at the Local’s Livingroom, a coffee shop located across from the Village of Pemberton chambers.

Sgt. Blake MacLeod with the Pemberton RCMP said this is actually the third time that the Lilypad store has been robbed since the festival.

“We are investigating every lead, every possibility we can to try to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said. “We’re certainly looking at all bits of our investigation to one, to identify the people and prosecute them if possible, and two, to stop these things going on in the community.

“I certainly don’t want to see people be alarmed and have people be fearful for their property.”

Pettit and Edwards took over the store in 2006 from previous owner Grace Jones, who was known around the community as “Gracie.” Back then the store was known as Smith and Jones.

Jones gave the store to Pettit, who previously worked as a cleaner in Whistler, when she wanted to retire from the business.

“With all the aches and pains I was glad to just stay in Pemberton,” she said. “I’ve always loved second hand shops and always felt that we needed to recycle these things that quite a few people seem to take to the dump and whatnot.”

MacLeod also said the Pemberton RCMP are looking to start a “Citizen’s Patrol” that will give police a few more eyes and ears in the community. Citizens will be trained by RCMP members and help police report any suspicious people or incidents within the community.

“That’s what we always need, the assistance of the community, whether it be information or reporting things,” he said. “They’re literally there just to report, not to act at all. We certainly don’t want to put anyone in harm’s way.”

The program comes as Whistler RCMP are already in the midst of setting up a similar program.

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