Thieves broke into the Port Hardy Museum July 6.
Security guards looked on at the aftermath from outside the building, waiting patiently for the Museum’s Curator, Jane Hutton, to arrive back from the police station.
Yellow crime scene police tape stretched across the front half of the building. A large piece of plywood covered what was left of a smashed windowpane.
The thieves weren’t after historical artefacts from Port Hardy’s history, they were after gift shop items, mainly jewellery located inside the glass cabinet, that they could sell for quick cash.
This was the fifth time in three months the building has been broken into, and security cameras have now been installed inside and outside the museum to catch any prospective future criminals.
The District is also “looking at installing metal shutters,” said Distric of Port Hardy Chief Administrative Officer Allison McCarrick, adding that purchasing the shutters could cost between $8,000 and $12,000.
Meanwhile, RCMP Media Relations Officer Cpl. Janelle Shoihet, sent out a press release asking for the public’s assistance in solving the crimes.”
The first break-in occured on April 6, just before 11 p.m., Port Hardy RCMP were called to the Museum for a report of a Break and Enter in progress. Upon attendance, RCMP discovered a window had been broken and inside a jewellery case had been smashed, and items had been stolen.
On May 9, just before 1 a.m., Port Hardy RCMP were again called to the Museum for another break and enter. A jewellery display case had been smashed and several items had been stolen.
On May 13 at 4 a.m., June 27 at 7 a.m. and July 7 at 2:40 a.m., Port Hardy RCMP responded to similar calls at the museum. In all instances, jewellery was stolen and the suspect entered in a similar way.
An estimated, $4,000 in Aboriginal jewellery and merchandise has been stolen, and another $1,000 in damages have had to be repaired.
“Firstly, I would like assure those people who have donated artifacts for display in the museum, that these have not been affected. We greatly appreciate and rely on these donations and their safety and security is of utmost importance,” stated Hutton in the RCMP press release.
“In each instance, the gift shop has been the target of the break in. This is particularly concerning because we rely on the proceeds from the gift shop to support the Port Hardy Heritage Society, in maintaining and improving the archives and museum.”
“The Port Hardy RCMP are currently following up on a number of investigative leads to identify the person or persons responsible for this string of break and enters, however we are asking for the public’s assistance,” wrote Shoihet. “If someone you know, or you have information about someone, who has recently come into possession of a number of Aboriginal pieces of jewellery, including bracelets, rings and pendants, please contact Port Hardy RCMP at 1-250-949-6335. If you wish to remain anonymous, contact Crimestoppers: by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or online: www.solvecrime.ca; or Text BCTIP and your message to CRIMES (274637).”