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Copperbelt museum latest victim in string of break ins

Police are investigating a break-in at the Copperbelt Railway and Mining Museum that happened early Monday morning.

Police are investigating a break-in at the Copperbelt Railway and Mining Museum that happened early Monday morning.

The museum’s collection was left untouched, but a new laptop and $1,500 in cash were stolen.

The thieves broke in through an office window and poured Gatorade over documents in the office, according to Angela Drainville, executive director of the Miles Canyon Historic Railway Society.

“They took everything out and they threw everything everywhere,” she said. “It’s just destructive and ridiculous.”

Drainville said the stolen money was registration money for the museum’s summer camps. She said this summer’s camps won’t be affected by the theft, but the money stolen was worth 12 weeks of camp.

Drainville said the theft is a “big blow” to a not-for-profit organization that operates on a very modest budget.

“It’s so much money for us,” she said. “I can’t believe that we were targeted.”

Const. Dean Hoogland said Whitehorse RCMP are still investigating the break-in, and currently have no suspects.

Based on the type of break-in and the damage, he said young people are most likely involved.

This is the latest in a string of recent break-ins in the city. Since early June, thieves have targeted the Whitehorse Boys and Girls Club, the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter, a footwear and clothing store, the fish ladder, a liquor warehouse, and the A&W restaurant.

Hoogland said it’s too soon to say whether this latest break-in is linked to the others.

He said the spate of break-ins may be related to unemployment or drug and alcohol addictions.

Drainville said she’s also concerned about an increase in graffiti along the waterfront and elsewhere in the city. The society operates the waterfront trolley as well as the mining museum, and Drainville said tourists who ride the trolley often complain about the graffiti on riverside buildings.

She said she’s been in contact with other organizations and businesses that have been targeted to discuss strategies to reduce vandalism. Those strategies include designing a public art project or a graffiti park.

“Right now, it’s just become extremely difficult for a lot of the not-for-profits to operate in the face of this,” she said. “We’re really trying to figure out how to address what is lacking in the community that causes people to behave in this way.”