A black pick-up truck busted through a wrought iron security gate smashing in the front door of the Meadowood Store at approximately 3 a.m. Thursday, according to store clerk Cathy Hutcheson.
“The ATM (machine) was their target,” Hutcheson told The NEWS just after the incident, pointing to the partially dismantled machine at the back of the store. She said video surveillance suggests two men wearing masks and dark clothing attempted to break into the ATM machine using a crow bar.
Hutcheson said the safe inside the ATM appears to be untouched and the thieves likely ran out of time before getting to it. Oceanside RCMP confirmed they were called to the Meadowood Store early Thursday morning.
Despite a gaping hole the truck left where the front door used to be, Hutcheson said it doesn’t appear anything was stolen.
The convenience store carries everything from liquor and cigarettes to ammunition and chocolate bars.
“Nothing was taken from what I can see,” she said. “In reviewing the tape, they (police) will be able to determine if anything was taken but it appears they left empty handed.”
The store shelves, lined with bottles of wine, were perfectly in tact Thursday morning.
Hutcheson said the store has video surveillance inside and outside.
She said it appears the thieves were outside the store for about ten minutes before busting through the front door.
Electrical cords on the alarm system on the side of the building appeared to be dismantled.
But according to police, the “loud bang” caused by the vehicle smashing into the front door woke up the store owners who live nearby and ran to the store immediately.
“The store owners must have startled the two men who quickly left the store, jumped back into the truck, and sped away down Meadowood Way towards Corcan Road,” states a new release issued by police Thursday.
RCMP were unable to locate a matching vehicle in the area.
Former Parksville mayor Chris Burger owns the Meadowood Store.
“It’s a pain in the butt, but ultimately it’s all property damage and nobody was hurt,” Burger said Saturday about the incident. “In retail, this is just a fact of life.”
Burger said the store didn’t lose any hours of operation.
“We actually opened early that day (of the break-in),” he said. “Mostly because, well, we were missing a wall.”
Burger said in terms of property damage this is the worst the store has seen, but not in terms of loss.
Externally, the building suffered but he said internally the store fared well during the break-in.
“We got lucky in that the damages are quite limited inside the store … bags of chips are pretty forgiving,” he said optimistically with a laugh.
Hutcheson, who’s lived in the area for seven years, said this is a “rare” event.
“It’s not easy access to get out here,” she said. “There’s only one way in and one way out.”
She said the incident makes her “uneasy” and she wonders “if the thieves were locals or if this was a one time thing.”
Hutcheson said from the foot of Baylis Street to the top of Meadowood Way there are about 1,000 homes.
“You think everybody is pretty nice who comes in (to the store) and you just don’t expect this to happen,” she said.
If you have any information about this incident please call the Oceanside RCMP at 250-248-6111 or report anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.