Staff members at the Parksville branch of the B.C. SPCA were frustrated and disappointed after a break-in to the building early Friday morning.
District Branch manager Nadine Durante said the incident occurred at approximately midnight. The security company that monitors that area was dispatched to the area when the alarm system inside the building was triggered. It was reported to Oceanside RCMP, and at 1:30 a.m. Durante was informed of the break-in.
The thieves Durante said, gained entry by removing a hydro meter near the side door to cut the building’s power, believing it would disable the alarm system. They then proceeded to smash the side door window, entered and ransacked Durante’s office, opened the drawers and file cabinets, and also tore down a medicine cabinet.
Some of the items stolen included her personal laptop and some technical equipment.
“It’s not going to cost tens of thousands but it’s still significant enough for a non-profit organization,” said Durante. “It’s infuriating that someone would do this.”
Durante said this is the third time in her 12 years as manager that somebody has broken into the facility in Errington.
“It’s the same type of thing, they’re potentially looking for cash or drugs, (and) we don’t have controlled substances on the premises,” said Durante. “It’s really frustrating as a non-profit organization, supported by our community and our donors, to know that we have additional expenses due to vandalism for no reason.”
Durante was more concerned with the welfare of the animals at the facility. She felt relieved to know that they were not harmed but she said the noise made by the thieves would have surely scared the animals.
“Just the intrusion for the animals, who are already at a high stress level in a sheltered environment, for them to be escalated in the middle of the night is absolutely unacceptable and it’s very disheartening that someone would do this,” said Durante.
The building was without power for almost 10 hours, leaving it without heat or phone service. BC Hydro treated the case as an emergency and came in to repair the damage at approxinately 10 a.m. Friday.
Durante said volunteers were told not come in as they remained closed for the day, until the cleanup has been completed.
Durante said the amount of support received from the community was overwhelming.
“They have reached out, from the community and beyond,” said Durante. “I have colleagues, friends of BCSPCA, contacting and sending messages. It’s been very heart-warming and very gracious of everyone. It’s really appreciated. If we need anything, we will certainly reach out to those who offered.”