Community photo archives, other sentimental items stolen during holiday break-ins

RCMP believe the thefts are connected to previously reported crimes
Buildings in the West Village were recently broken into. Photo by Liz McDonald.

The loss of irreplaceable community photo archives and other sentimental items appear to be collateral damage connected to recent break-ins in the west village area of Sun Peaks. Sun Peaks Independent News’ (SPIN) office was among several units targeted between Dec. 27 and 28.

RCMP confirmed three reported break-and-enters linked to the same time period appear to be connected. On Jan. 10 it was discovered the SPIN office had been broken into over the holidays. Newspaper staff had been working from home since Christmas and were notified of suspicious activity in the Burfield West building on Jan. 9. 

Among the equipment taken were older SPIN hard drives. It is believed the thief thought security footage was contained on the drives. 

“It’s really unfortunate that this data was taken,” said Brandi Schier, publisher of SPIN. “It contained archives of all community events and news, big and small, from 2002 to 2015. I’m still trying to wrap my head around how significant this loss is for the community.”

Schier said she was thankful archived copies of all newspaper issues were uploaded to the Thompson Nicola Library Districts’ NewsHound site prior to the break in. Some of the data may also be duplicated in cloud storage, however it will be an ongoing process to determine the full extent of the loss. 

Several cheques were also taken from the office, resulting in nearly $7,000 in fraud. A Lenovo laptop computer was also taken.

RCMP said evidence located at the scene led investigators to believe the incident is linked to two other break-ins.

One of the other break-ins “involved the theft of several items in storage, including a trophy and other items of sentimental value. Police believe all three crimes were committed on the same date,” according to a statement from Kamloops RCMP.

Police are asking the public to help identify any suspects and request that anyone who has video, security footage or information related to these investigations please contact the Tk’emlúps Rural RCMP Detachment at 250-314-1800.

“We would really just like the drives to be returned,” said Schier. “While I believe they have most likely been destroyed or thrown away, if there’s any chance we could get them back I would be sincerely grateful.”

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