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RCMP response to stolen snowmobile inadequate, writes victim


On the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 28, around 5 p.m., I got home from work to find out my brand new, $20,000 snowmobile, had been stolen.

I checked with a couple friends to make sure they didn't borrow it, or take it as a joke, and then reported it stolen to the RCMP, around 5:30 p.m.

I traced the sled's tracks, and gathered as much information as I possibly could, in preparation for the RCMP's arrival. But unfortunately, it was almost 10 p.m., over four hours later, when I finally received a phone call from the RCMP. By this time, I had figured out who stole the sled, where they had loaded it up, the vehicle it had been loaded into, and even a guy who was sure he had seen the truck with my sled in the back.

When I relayed this information to the constable, I was told that this was all circumstantial evidence. I understood that, and asked if the RCMP could at least question the suspected person involved. I provided a name, birth date, address and even a phone number for the guy. And all I got was: "We'll look into it, and here's a case number for your insurance company."

Rather than wait for the police to do their thing, I did mine. I pressured the young man I assumed had stolen my sled. Not having any confidence that the police would pursue the matter, and find the sled themselves, I told the guy that if the sled ended up back where it came from, in the exact condition it was in when it went missing, the I would not force the matter legally, and would not press charges against him.

Fortunately for both of us, the sled was in my driveway on Sunday morning.

I am writing this letter for no other reason than to express my dissatisfaction with the response I received from the RCMP. It was Wednesday, March 5 — four days after my initial complaint — before a member of the RCMP returned my calls. I informed him my property had been returned to me.

Despite leaving multiple messages, informing that I had new information, and asking for someone to return my call, it took four days for someone to finally call me back. I understand that it is only a snowmobile, and there might not be a lot they could do. But It would have been nice for someone to at least show up to talk to me. Maybe even ask for a picture of the sled. Anything would have been nice.

Having witnessed how swiftly and seriously the RCMP have responded to and dealt with much less serious and petty crimes, I can't help but be upset and wonder, is there a double-standard? If I were an older, more popular member of the community, would this crime have gotten the attention it deserved?

Even now, weeks after the incident, despite having more than enough evidence, including pictures, recordings and even an admission of guilt, to my knowledge there have been ZERO inquiries into the theft of a $20,000 vehicle from my property, in broad daylight.

What kind of message does that send to this, or any other would-be thief. "Steal all the sleds you want. There's nothing the cops can do." That's the message I've been getting. And it's just not good enough.

— Adam Penney writes from Carbonear

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