UPDATE: Downtown parking meter thefts continue
Once again, parking meters in downtown Vernon were targeted by thieves. On Tuesday March 10, 2020 at 9:20 pm, an alert citizen contacted police to report a suspicious man who appeared to be breaking into a parking meter. The witness was able to provide a detailed clothing description of the suspect. Front line officers responded but were unable to locate the lone male. Approximately 5 minutes later, police received a call from another citizen advising three men were breaking into parking meters in a different area of downtown Vernon. Our front line officers responded immediately and located three men in the area that matched the descriptions given by the witness. Two of the suspects were arrested by police however the third suspect fled on foot. Despite numerous patrols by other available front line officers, the third man could not be located. None of the clothing descriptions of these three individuals matched the description given for the first suspect reported to police. When arrested, the suspects were in possession of break-in instruments as well as a small quantity of Canadian quarters, loonies and toonies.
Both of these incidents came to the attention of the police because concerned citizens witnessed suspicious activity and took the time to call us. said Corporal Tania Finn, Media Relations Officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP, We appreciate the public’s assistance in identifying these crimes as they occur. Without these calls from the public, police would not have been in a position to make an immediate arrest.
A 28 year old man and a 35 year old man are in police custody in order to appear in court. Both men are known to police and one has a history of similar type of theft in the Vernon area.
Parking meters in the downtown core continue to be targeted by thieves despite the arrest of two individuals last month. On Monday March 2, 2020, police learned of 21 parking meters which were targeted over the weekend. On Friday March 6, 2020 police were advised of another 18 meters were broken into overnight.
On Monday March 9th at 5:45 am, police received a call about a suspicious man in a hoodie breaking into parking meters on 33rd Street and attended, but were unable to locate the suspect. Later that afternoon around 5pm, police received another call of a man on a bike breaking into the meters but were unable to attend in time to locate him.
"This is a crime that can occur relatively quickly as the thief can be in and out of a meter in the matter of minutes," said Corporal Tania Finn, Media Relations Officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. "We know that one individual can cause substantial damage to a number of machines in a very short time period. Unfortunately, it appears there are more than one thief targeting the meters here in Vernon."
No suspects have been identified in this latest string of thefts. If you have any information regarding these incidents, please contact the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP non-emergency line of 250-545-7171. Or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or leaving a tip online at North Okanagan Crimestoppers. You do not have to reveal your identity to Crime Stoppers. If you provide information that leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.