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Daylight robberies likely related

Vehicles and sleds recovered by police investigation

The Whistler RCMP believe a rash of daylight robberies from homes are probably related, but can't say whether or not the thefts are related to other incidents reported in the Benchlands in early January.

The Benchlands thefts, which culminated with a hotel employee being sprayed in the face with bear spray, are believed to be linked to a rash of a 11 vehicle thefts reported in Sea to Sky over a two week period in mid-January. No vehicle thefts have been reported since Jan. 21.

Sergeant Steve Wright, operations supervisor at the Whistler detachment, says homeowners should always lock their properties and should consider purchasing alarm systems. He also said he would welcome inquiries from neighbourhoods interested in starting neighbourhood watch programs.

The recent rash of robberies started on Jan. 25 on Northlands Boulevard. Between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. a thief or thieves entered through the window of a property on Northlands Boulevard and stole a laptop computer and sunglasses.

On Jan. 26, a break-in occurred at roughly 11:30 a.m. on Eva Lake Drive. The thief or thieves kicked in a door and stole jewelry, a laptop computer, a television and an iPod.

Between 10:45 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. on the same day a thief or thieves entered a residence on Nordic Drive. There was no sign of forced entry, and they took a laptop, two iPods, cash and passports.

The fourth break-in was reported on Jan. 31 at roughly 2:30 a.m. at the Pemberton Bike Co. on Portage Road. The front door was smashed in and thieves stole a silver Giant Reign XO valued at $4,000. The RCMP responded to the alarm, but the thief had already fled the scene.

Wright said a rash of thefts like this is usually the work of one thief, or of thieves working together.

"The fact that they're so close together and occurring at the same time of day makes us believe that it may be one or more persons committing them," said Wright.

"There is a feeling in this community that you can leave your house unlocked, but houses should be secured. Look into alarm systems, and doors and windows should be locked. If there is someone who doesn't appear to belong in your neighbourhood or is acting suspiciously we want you to call us, we're happy to come and talk to the person. It's a very transient town, especially at this time of year."

There was some good news as well as bad, with RCMP recovering two trucks and snowmobiles that were stolen from Whistler on Jan. 20 and Jan. 21. One vehicle was taken from Cheakamus Way, and the other from Marmot Place.

According to the RCMP, both trucks were recovered in Squamish, while the sleds were recovered in North Vancouver.

Eight vehicles and a snowmobile are still unaccounted for that were stolen during the same period, but Wright says the investigation is a priority for detachments in Squamish, North Vancouver and Whistler that are working together.

There were no arrests related to the recovery of the vehicles.

"There is a lot of work still being done, this is a very active investigation, as are the other property-related offences (reported in the Benchlands)," said Sgt. Wright.

A 22-year-old Squamish woman named Dawn Ashley Robson was arrested on Jan. 16 in relation to one vehicle theft from Squamish, leading the RCMP on a high-speed chase before fleeing into the woods. She remained in custody at press time. She is scheduled to make a court appearance on Feb. 5 for theft over $5,000, dangerous operation of a motor vehicles, flight from police, prohibited driving and possession of a controlled substance.

The RCMP are investigating whether she is connected to other vehicle thefts or suspects in a string of Whistler property thefts.