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Smithers businesses, residents concerned about uptick in criminal activity

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Break and Enters have been on the rise within the Smithers area at local businesses and residences over the last few months.

New to You, the Town’s local thrift store was among the businesses that was robbed last week.

The store is run by the Bulkley Valley Hospital Auxiliary and the staff are volunteers that help raise money for local hospitals and the community.

According to New to You Spokesperson Gisela Varga, someone went through a window, popped the screen and emptied the camera case, went into one of their glass cabinets and took three game consoles and took a bunch of comics.

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She said that it bothers her that someone would break into a thrift store.

“We raise money for the hospital, for the Bulkley Lodge, for the Kordyban House in Prince George so people can go there for cancer treatments, we’ve raised money for search and rescue and the community,” Varga said.

“It’s pretty low to rob a thrift store. I feel very violated and so do the members that work here. We don’t get paid, we volunteer,” she said.

Varga also said it’s sad that this is happening in the area.

“It makes us sad to think that community members are doing this to us and we’re trying to help the community,” she said.

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Additionally, Varga is encouraging people to volunteer with the Citizens on Patrol program done through the RCMP.

The main job of those volunteers is to patrol and report any suspicious activity in the area.

Meanwhile, residents have been posting on social media about missing items such as bikes, ATV’s, propane tanks and water containers.

In an interview with Vista Radio, Mayor Gladys Atrill said she has been made aware of the troubling behaviour and meetings have been held with businesses, town staff and the RCMP.

“At the last meeting we’ve had with merchants there was an offer by the RCMP to assist the merchants with some education, things that they are able to do to keep their store safe, to keep themselves safe and how they could do the best they could to protect their property and themselves,” she said.

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Atrill added that it is important to report any criminal activity to police so they are made aware of the situation.

Social media posts have also noticed an uptick in RCMP presence in the community.

Vista Radio has reached out to the RCMP but did not get back in time for publication.

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