Copper Ridge break ins spur neighbourhood watch

Copper Ridge residents are raising concerns about a rash of neighbourhood break-ins in late June. Wendy Thompson is a light sleeper and wakes up early. On Saturday, June 23, at around 5 a.m., she was sitting in her living room on Adit Lane when she noticed a white Ford Focus pull up the street.

Copper Ridge residents are raising concerns about a rash of neighbourhood break-ins in late June.

Wendy Thompson is a light sleeper and wakes up early. On Saturday, June 23, at around 5 a.m., she was sitting in her living room on Adit Lane when she noticed a white Ford Focus pull up the street.

Four youth piled out. At first, she thought they were the neighbor’s guests. But then she saw them run through the backyard next door and try to climb the fence.

Concerned, she woke her husband David.

“I thought she’d seen a bear in the yard,” he said.

David looked out the window and saw the youth try to get into his car. After he hollered at them, they took off in their vehicle. He contacted the RCMP to report the incident.

Thompson took a picture of the car he’d seen the youth arrive in. He showed it to different neighbours and posted it on mailboxes. Residents discussed the situation and made each other aware of what had happened.

On Wednesday, June 27 at around 2 a.m., a similar situation occurred.

From the couple’s bedroom window at the front of the house, Wendy saw a different group of five youth dressed in black sweatpants and black hoodies walking down the street. She didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but felt something was wrong. She called her husband again.

He waited outside by his car, not expecting anything unusual. He assumed the youth were simply returning home. He saw them down the street. He stepped back inside the house for a moment. From inside, he saw one youth running down the street at “full tilt.” He called 9-1-1.

He went outside to wait for the police. While he waited, he walked down the street and saw the youth standing by a house. He was trying to remove the screen from a back window, level with the deck at the back of the house. Alarmed, Thompson rang the doorbell.

Beverly Cooper’s husband joined Thompson and other neighbors were now outside.

The screen was laid on the ground beside the house. Cooper and her husband leave that window slightly open. As far as they know, nothing was taken from their residence but a gift that was in the front seat of her vehicle was taken.

When the RCMP arrived, they found a pair of shoes left behind by one of the youth. RCMP interviewed more individuals the next day.

By Friday, the window was repaired, but Cooper was still upset.

“I don’t want to spread fear mongering or be unsettling, because Whitehorse is a very safe place to live, and that’s one of the reasons we choose to live here,” she said Friday afternoon. “But I was very angry that somebody had the gall to try and break into our home. … I felt invaded.”

Some residents even chose to stay home for the long weekend instead of travel.

Thompson said he’d heard of vehicle theft before in the area, but that this was the first time he remembered there being an attempted break-and-enter of a home.

Since last Wednesday, residents have organized a neighborhood watch with phone numbers to contact each other if they notice anything suspicious. There were some posts on Facebook about the activity.

No one is entirely sure what has motivated the incidents or where the youth came from.

Cooper said the events have some wondering if the situations are coincidental or if Copper Ridge is being targeted.

On Friday, the Whitehorse RCMP detachment issued a press release saying they had noticed the Facebook “rumours.” But the release appears to contradict itself.

It states a handful of residential break-and-enters were reported in Whitehorse during June.

But then quotes Constable Christine Grant as saying, “Whitehorse RCMP has not recently received any reports of break-and-enters where people were at home – in quite some time.”

The release further says none of the incidents involved organized crime or occurred in Copper Ridge.

Spokesman Sgt. Don Rogers did not respond to phone messages left on Friday and Tuesday requesting further comment. Constable Grant was unavailable for comment on Tuesday.

Insp. Will Tewnion, the officer in charge of the Whitehorse Detachment, told the News Tuesday, there is “not a rash of break and enters in Copper Ridge” and no incidents involving organized crime.

The release also announced the formation of a community consultative committee, to allow Whitehorse residents to express concerns to RCMP in a formal matter.

Contact Meagan Gillmore at

mgillmore@yukon-news.com

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