Rash of snowmobile thefts
Family's weekend spoiled when snowmachine stolen and totalled

Terry Halifax
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 17/99) - A Fort Smith family had their weekend ruined and their snowmobile totalled, when thieves stole their snowmobile in a recent rash of thefts plaguing Yellowknife.

The family had come to Yellowknife for a weekend of caribou hunting on Gordon Lake said Reg Campbell.

He said the snowmachine was strapped to the trailer when they parked the truck last Thursday evening.

"I went out this morning and it wasn't on the trailer," Campbell said Friday morning.

"They must have lifted it right off."

Thieves took the Campbell's Polaris Indy Transport and another stolen machine down to the end of Kam Lake Road, where they used the machines to smash open the chained gate to Ace Enterprises gravel pit.

The Campbell's machine was near totalled, Reg said. He wasn't sure if his insurance would cover the loss.

"I just use it in the bush," Campbell said. "I'm not sure if insurance covers it or not. It was attached to the truck, so it may be covered by the truck's insurance."

"We'll stop in at the office at Hay River on our way home," he added.

Campbell, his son Keith and six-year-old grandson Terrence had plans to spend the weekend hunting, but decided to turn around and go back to Smith, following the theft, he said.

"We were supposed to go caribou hunting this morning," Campbell said.

"Yeah, now we can't go," young Terrence added.

"How somebody could do such a thing," Campbell said in bewilderment, kicking the snow and shaking his head. "I can't believe it."

RCMP are investigating the theft along with numerous other snowmobile thefts throughout the Yellowknife area, said Sgt. Marlin Degrand.

"There have been an inordinately high number of thefts over the past two weeks," Degrand said.

"We are recovering the vast majority of the snowmobiles, but unfortunately a lot of them are severely damaged as a result of the misuse by the people who steal them."

The culprits have little problem starting some machines without keys, Degrand said.

"Unfortunately, snowmobiles are very easy to steal," he said.

"So usually, they just get on them and drive them away."

Owners should take added precautions when securing their snowmobiles, he said.

"People should secure the snowmobile with a chain or an anti-theft device like a coated cable to a fixed object," he said. "Also, place it in an area that is well-lighted and visible to the general public and preferably, to themselves."

"Simply turning the machine off and removing the key is not a sufficient deterrent anymore," Degrand warned.