VicPD Cruiser Downtown

Victoria Police are warning businesses of a series of what they are calling “sophisticated” break-ins that are continuing to plague the downtown area.

Over the past month, VicPD officers have been investigating what appears to be an ongoing series of business break and enters that occur overnight.

According to VicPD, the largest cluster of reports is from Victoria’s downtown business community, where nearly two dozen break and enters are believed to be related.

The thieves have been using the sophisticated technique of removing the glass from doors or windows to gain stealthier access.

“This approach requires specialized tools and knowledge and, in some files, has been effective in defeating alarm systems,” said VicPD in a release.

In instances when the glass removal technique has failed, the thieves resort to more brute force methods; smashing windows and prying doors.

In October, Saanich Police arrested a 40-year-old man suspected of breaking into multiple businesses using the same techniques.

Police say a total of six break-and-enters were reported in Saanich between October 2 and 26, particularly at liquor stores.

In each case, the suspect carefully removed glass windows or wall panels to gain access into the store, and stole wine, beer and other alcohol.

The suspect in that case is known to police.

VicPD outlined several steps business owners could take to improve security:

• Remove valuables from your business where possible when you close.

• If you cannot remove valuables or merchandise, move it out of view from all windows.

• Empty your cash drawer and leave it clearly displayed in a window.

• Review your surveillance system to ensure the system is working, is of useful resolution and captures all potential areas of entry.

• Review your alarm company information to ensure you will be contacted if an alarm is triggered.

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