Three men used crow bars to pry their way into three downtown businesses to steal cash in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with their activities caught on video and also spotted by the Prestige Hotel’s night auditor who called police at 2:30 a.m.
The RCMP confirmed that a break-in at the Red Pair Shoe Store was reported at 2:30 a.m. and said a cruiser was immediately dispatched.
When police arrived at the Red Pair Shoe Store, they discovered that Mountain Life had also been broken into.
A break-in at Clansey’s wasn’t discovered until employees arrived at work.
RCMP files record a call from Clansey’s just before 6:21 a.m.
“I can’t give a lot of detail,” Sgt. Rob Hawton said. “We can’t release everything we know publicly.”
“It was the night auditor from the Prestige who called the police,” said Stephanie Robinson of the Red Pair Shoe Store. “He was outside on a break and noticed three guys coming down my steps.”
“They totally went for cash,” Robinson said. “I had an SLR camera and a computer on the table, but they strictly went for money.”
Although the thieves were stymied at the shoe store where there is a no- cash policy, other businesses were not so lucky, including neighbouring Mountain Life owned by Pat Hinds.
“It’s a part of life, unfortunately” Hinds said stoically.
Again, money was the object, and cash was stolen from the Mountain Life register. Hinds has now changed his company policy so that no cash is left overnight.
Besides cash, the thieves took a couple pair of sunglasses from Hinds’ store that he said “couldn’t be worth more than $70.” They passed over the Garmin GPS watches just below the register.
Clansey’s was also forcibly entered with the door broken. Megan Cook said a couple hours in the morning were lost waiting for the police to complete their investigation, and a “bit of a mess” of papers was left by the thieves, but nothing was taken other than money.
Three men were caught on several security video feeds.
“There are video cameras everywhere in town,” Robinson said. “The clearest shot was picked up by Ferraro’s camera.”
Sgt. Hawton said break-ins like these are quite unusual for Rossland, but couldn’t speculate whether it was more likely the thieves came from Rossland or out of town.
“We’re checking videos,” he said, but could not divulge any clues to the criminals’ identities.
He did have advice for shop keepers. “Don’t leave cash on the premises — that’s what people go for first.”