Local workshop broken into, costing owner about $50K

A local man’s workshop has been the target of at least three break-ins over the past few months, resulting in around $50,000 in losses.
A man and his dog inside that allegedly broke into a local workshop. (Harold McLennan)

FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — A local man’s workshop has allegedly been the target of at least three break-ins over the past few months, resulting in around $50,000 in losses.

Harold McLennan, a heavy mechanic, said a man and his dog broke into his shop just after midnight last Monday, but there were no signs of forced entry. His theory is the man managed to open a window to gain access.

“[He took] some small hand tools, but we don’t know 100 per cent what’s missing until we go to use it, unfortunately, but the main thing is there’s two or three laptops, some Milwaukee tools, one was a chainsaw,” McLennan said.

The man in the workshop. (Harold McLennan)

The man also took a work truck using the spare keys he found in the shop, allegedly loading it with diagnostic laptops, tools and electrical cables. 

The shop owner went through security camera footage inside the shop and watched the man go through the shop for an hour and a half.

“They’re getting pretty comfortable with hanging out here,” McLennan said.

The RCMP assisted in recovering the work truck, which was dropped near Arras.

If the truck hadn’t been recovered, it would have cost him about $200,000, McLennan said.

The other two break-ins reportedly occurred in mid-April and the end of May. During these break-ins, a diagnostic laptop and more electrical tools were taken, according to McLennan. These two break-ins cost him about $10,000 to $15,000 in replacement costs.

The laptops that were taken both times aren’t standard laptops sold at a store, the business owner said they’re diagnostic laptops, costing about $10,000 apiece.

“There’s a few [laptops] that got left behind because they knew they were old, and they seem to be pretty picky about making sure they only get the good stuff,” McLennan said.

When the specialized tools and equipment get taken, he has to take the time and money to replace it all, setting his work back.

“It’s a zero profit month because I have to replace, and if it was a profitable month, those costs just go to replacing what was stolen,” McLennan said.

It takes a day in downtime and an additional 40 to 50 hours for paperwork for each occurrence.

He is now considering purchasing higher-level security, including alarms and high-end cameras.

Anyone who recognizes the man or the dog in the photos is asked to contact the local RCMP at 250-787-8100 with file number 23-7311.


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