Penticton homeowner warns others of a thief using fire to break in

Thief used fire to break in

"The most unsettling thing is they're not just breaking in now, they're using fire if they can't break in."

A Penticton resident was surprised when she woke up one morning and discovered the measures thieves are going to use to get in.

“I woke up Saturday morning and I noticed my gate was open and it had a lock on it. So right away I knew somebody had gotten into my yard and so I came downstairs right away,” Jeanine said. She asked to only have her first name used, for fear of repercussions on speaking out.

“What he did was he pushed the post over because it was bent over, just enough so that the latch could come off from the post. The latch was still locked on the gate.”

That's when she spotted that her backyard shed had been burnt and broken into, melted around the padlock she installed to keep her items safe.

“Everything was out of the shed. Either thrown over the fence into my neighbour's yard or scattered along the walkway to my shed,” Jeanine added.

“I called the RCMP, I got a file number. One of the officers did come down and take a photo. But pretty much said there wasn't anything they could do and if I had video footage or anything later to email them, which is what I did.”

The perpetrator came into Jeanine's yard at 6:30 a.m., snooping through her things for a good hour. Luckily, something seemed to spook him at some point and he left, not with many of her possessions.

“I feel completely not safe, I thought I was safe with locks, but they're going through means of getting past everything. Nothing is stopping them.”

The scariest moment for Jeanine is what could've happened to her if anything more caught on fire.

“My shed is right beside my house, which is right next to my stairwell, right on the side there. Had there been combustibles in my shed or anything flammable, like gas in my shed, that could've gone up and I'm not getting out from upstairs because that's my stairway,” she explained.

“If the fire would've got to the side of my house, now I'm trapped.”

Arson activity isn’t uncommon either, with somebody torching her neighbour's cedars out front the night before.

“Luckily, the fire department happened to be driving by and helped him put the fire out.”

Jeanine hopes somebody might recognize the individual who broke in, or at least warn residents that this happened to her.

“It's just awareness and I know it goes on everywhere, but we're just getting tired of this. These guys aren't being held accountable...Even when you lock your stuff up, this is what happens. Somehow we have to put a stop to this, I just don't know where to start.”

Casey Richardson

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