RCMP response to stolen snowmobile inadequate, writes victim

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On the afternoon of Friday, Feb. 28, around 5 p.m., I got home from work to find out my brand new, $20,000 snowmobile, had been stolen.

letter to editor

I checked with a couple friends to make sure they didn't borrow it, or take it as a joke, and then reported it stolen to the RCMP, around 5:30 p.m.

I traced the sled's tracks, and gathered as much information as I possibly could, in preparation for the RCMP's arrival. But unfortunately, it was almost 10 p.m., over four hours later, when I finally received a phone call from the RCMP. By this time, I had figured out who stole the sled, where they had loaded it up, the vehicle it had been loaded into, and even a guy who was sure he had seen the truck with my sled in the back.

When I relayed this information to the constable, I was told that this was all circumstantial evidence. I understood that, and asked if the RCMP could at least question the suspected person involved. I provided a name, birth date, address and even a phone number for the guy. And all I got was: "We'll look into it, and here's a case number for your insurance company."

Rather than wait for the police to do their thing, I did mine. I pressured the young man I assumed had stolen my sled. Not having any confidence that the police would pursue the matter, and find the sled themselves, I told the guy that if the sled ended up back where it came from, in the exact condition it was in when it went missing, the I would not force the matter legally, and would not press charges against him.

Fortunately for both of us, the sled was in my driveway on Sunday morning.

I am writing this letter for no other reason than to express my dissatisfaction with the response I received from the RCMP. It was Wednesday, March 5 — four days after my initial complaint — before a member of the RCMP returned my calls. I informed him my property had been returned to me.

Despite leaving multiple messages, informing that I had new information, and asking for someone to return my call, it took four days for someone to finally call me back. I understand that it is only a snowmobile, and there might not be a lot they could do. But It would have been nice for someone to at least show up to talk to me. Maybe even ask for a picture of the sled. Anything would have been nice.

Having witnessed how swiftly and seriously the RCMP have responded to and dealt with much less serious and petty crimes, I can't help but be upset and wonder, is there a double-standard? If I were an older, more popular member of the community, would this crime have gotten the attention it deserved?

Even now, weeks after the incident, despite having more than enough evidence, including pictures, recordings and even an admission of guilt, to my knowledge there have been ZERO inquiries into the theft of a $20,000 vehicle from my property, in broad daylight.

What kind of message does that send to this, or any other would-be thief. "Steal all the sleds you want. There's nothing the cops can do." That's the message I've been getting. And it's just not good enough.

— Adam Penney writes from Carbonear

Organizations: RCMP

Geographic location: Carbonear

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Recent comments

  • EDfromRED
    March 22, 2014 - 08:20

    You should have told them the thieves were going to use the snowmobile to protest Muskrat Falls. They would have sent multiple Swat Teams to take them down. You'd think such blatent police indifference and incompetence would get wider media coverage. I guess the victim is too ordinary to be worth police protection.

  • gord
    March 20, 2014 - 21:46

    Cheer up cause its only going to get worse! Its not the police dept fault. Come visit any Gov't dept worker and get an earful of what is really going on so you won't expect so much for so long!

  • Hawk
    March 20, 2014 - 18:18

    Should have named your snow mobile SALMON then that would have got the laws attention or if you reported you neighbor was out fishing for a fish for the table. if they got caught they could get a 6000 dollar fine and not allowed to fish for five years. What's this fellow going to get that stoled your snow machine NOTHING.

  • Just sayin
    March 20, 2014 - 07:10

    Wonder the RCMP did not charge you for interfering with their job.

  • mark walters
    March 19, 2014 - 18:51

    Interesting!

  • mark Walters
    March 19, 2014 - 18:43

    interesting story!

  • Expect
    March 19, 2014 - 08:22

    Expect more tickets now that your name is public.. I had a similar experience and it felt like all they did was show up and write up a report. The trouble repeated and all I saw was reports, with no sign of anything being done. They can't solve everything but it woule help to keep in touch with you.

  • t
    March 18, 2014 - 19:57

    I think that's absolutely ridiculous!

  • j walker
    March 18, 2014 - 18:19

    Thats just how it is, I am glad you got your sled back and if you had punched out the person that stole it you probably would have been thrown in jail right? It isnt fair at all.

  • j walker
    March 18, 2014 - 18:18

    Thats just how it is, I am glad you got your sled back and if you had punched out the person that stole it you probably would have been thrown in jail right? It isnt fair at all.

  • Duffy
    March 18, 2014 - 18:02

    This is not news - this is the normal operation for the RCMP. We had a similiar experience BUT took care of the matter ourselves. The RCMP are just sent here for a short time and have very little connection with the Island. They are gone in a couple years. Want better service we need the RNC for the Island like many other Provinces. They are Newfoundlanders with a family and community connection.

    • Jim
      March 20, 2014 - 09:02

      Pretty sure most RCMP officers in the province do have a connection as most are from here and have families.

    • gord
      March 20, 2014 - 22:08

      Are you for real "Duffy"? RNC? "Boys & Girls club" Unsolved murders! I'll gladly pay more taxes any year for more RCMP enforcement based on NL gov't run departments and the professionalism therein!

    • JJ
      March 24, 2014 - 06:03

      The RNC are no better, I found this out personally when I had a boat stolen from my yard. It took several hours after my call before an officer showed up, and the response to my plight was lackluster to say the least. One of the reasons we have so much petty crime in this province is because the punks and scumbags know that the police will not put much priority if at all on this kind of crime.

    • JJ
      March 24, 2014 - 06:04

      The RNC are no better, I found this out personally when I had a boat stolen from my yard. It took several hours after my call before an officer showed up, and the response to my plight was lackluster to say the least. One of the reasons we have so much petty crime in this province is because the punks and scumbags know that the police will not put much priority if at all on this kind of crime.