Break ins at local waste transfer stations is more than a headache for the regional districts that manage them.
Chase RCMP report the Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) waste transfer station in Pritchard has been the target of thieves five times in the month of April.
Empty bottles and a mattress were taken from the transfer station during another break in back in February.
Cpl. Scott Linklater of the Chase RCMP said although the transfer station has been targeted in the past, five thefts in less than a month has been identified as more than normal and the RCMP will be looking into it.
He said car batteries and other scrap electronics seemed to be the target of the recent break-ins.
“They are often targeted this way. For whatever reason there seems to have been a real frequency of break-ins in the last few months in the Pritchard location. It’s a common and ongoing problem at waste management facilities provincewide I would say,” said TNRD manager of environmental services Jamie Viera.
Viera said thieves go to a lot of effort to gain entry into the transfer stations and don’t leave with much of value. Old computers, TVs and automotive batteries which have been dropped off for recycling are often all that is taken.
Viera said it is surprising that thieves go to all the effort of stealing $40-$50 of car batteries.
Of greater concern to Viera and the TNRD than the stolen recycled items is the damage done to the transfer stations when they break in.
According to Viera, the amount of damage caused by breaking the lock or cutting a hole in the fence far outweighs the value what’s taken. He said cutting through the fence is the most common way in for thieves because they are rarely successful at cutting the high-end padlocks used at the facilities.
Viera said thieves attempted to gain entry to one waste management facility by shooting the lock.
Break-ins at waste management facilities also play out in the neighbouring Columbia Shuswap Regional District. CSRD environmental health services team leader Ben Van Nostrand said signs and security systems seem to be little deterrent to the brazen thieves.
Van Nostrand said there are two types of break ins, those where items not under lock and key are taken, often by jumping a fence, and more destructive ones targeting landfill scale houses. He said the former has led the CSRD to stop accepting batteries at some locations. Computer equipment is sometimes damaged or stolen when the scale houses are broken into but Van Nostrand said no cash is left on site so there is little for thieves to make off with.