(Victoria Buzz stock photo)

Victoria police have announced they are increasing patrols throughout Victoria and Esquimalt in response to concerns of thieves targeting businesses closed due to COVID-19.

In a release, VicPD said they arrested two men for property offences in separate cases.

Patrol officers have stepped up their presence in these core business areas, including Victoria’s downtown core, in response to concerns of thieves targeting businesses closed due to COVID-19 precautions,” says Victoria Police Department spokesperson Bowen Osoko.

One arrested in break and enter to vacant business

On Monday around 7 p.m., Victoria police were called to the 700-block of Yates Street after witnesses spotted a man breaking a window and entering a recently vacated business.

Police surrounded the building and while officers were searching for the suspect, a resident of a nearby building spotted the man attempting to access the roof area. The resident spoke with the man and escorted him off the property to waiting officers and taken into custody.

Upon arresting the man, officers discovered he had been injured while breaking the window. He was transported to hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

He was released with conditions and an appearance notice.

Car alarm, broken windows lead to arrest

Just after 3 a.m. this morning, another man was arrested near the intersection of Cook Street and Rockland Avenue after police heard a car alarm sounding in the area.

A VicPD officer then spotted a man quickly leaving the area of the vehicle alarm and stopped him for questioning.

The officer searched the man and discovered he had break and enter tools in his possession.

Further investigation revealed two nearby vehicles had been broken into. The owners of the vehicles were notified of the incidents. The man was arrested for violating conditions not to possess break and enter tools.

The additional investigation remains ongoing at this time.

“We are well aware of the potential for businesses to be targeted during closures,” Chief Del Manak said. “We have already implemented enhanced patrols and discussed new crime prevention strategies.”

VicPD Patrol officers continue to take part in increased patrols in core business areas.