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Stolen vehicles are driving Battlefords RCMP up the wall

Snow machines are also being stolen during the early hours of the morning
Battleford council Jan 24 - RCMP report
Battlefords RCMP Detachment Staff-Sgt. Jason Teniuk reports to the council meeting on a rash of stolen vehicles lately.

BATTLEFORD - Stolen vehicles, and stolen snow machines at -40 below temperatures, were the hot topic in the latest report to Battleford town council Monday night from the detachment's S/Sgt. Jason Teniuk.

Stolen vehicles had long been an issue throughout the Battlefords, with car thefts on the rise in recent weeks. But there are also incidents of snow vehicles and snowmobiles being stolen.

Councillor David George raised the issue Monday at council, noting an incident where a snow vehicle was stolen during the early hours of the morning.

“How brazen are people these days when they steal a snow machine … a lady steals a snow machine at 5:30 (a.m.) when it’s 40 below. I can't even believe that.”

George said he had witnessed the whole scene, where a woman had attached a rope to the machine and pulled it out of the yard into the middle of the street, and then kept going down the street.

That allowed Teniuk to vent at length about the number of vehicles that are stolen in the community. He reported that they lose 10 to 17 stolen vehicles a week.

“That's ridiculous. It’s absolutely ridiculous, it drives me insane,” said Teniuk. “Those vehicles are used in other crimes, and then my people are chasing them around the city trying to catch up with them.”

“Sometimes you can’t prevent it, sometimes they get hot-wired, but new vehicles are very very very difficult to steal. I do see a trend going towards older vehicles, where you pull the steering column apart and hot wire them, but there’s not a lot of those vehicles left anymore, nobody really keeps them,” said Teniuk. 

Vehicle thefts are a particular issue when it is cold. Teniuk noted that when it is cold out, people would put their keys in cars and run their vehicles, and then come back to find the cars gone. 

He urged people to not leave their car doors unlocked. 

“That week we had 17 vehicles gone. I don’t know what the answer is. I think the onus is on the owner at that point — lock your doors. That’s all it takes.” 

As for the stolen snow vehicle incident, Teniuk shared George's bewilderment about why people would go out and steal at 40-below. "I don't get it, either."

On another note, in his overall update to council Teniuk had much praise for the emergency response to the apartment fire in North Battleford on Jan. 3.

“I was extremely proud of everyone involved including my people, the fire and EMS. Our first responders are second to none… we hold our own here,” said Teniuk.

“It was a chaotic scene, nothing like I’ve ever seen in the last 21 years. I certainly appreciate the effort everybody put in. Yeah, you don’t really know until you see something like that in person.”