Sixty-six vehicles had their windows and lights smashed during a spate of vandalism that took place between 2 and 4 a.m. on the morning of Aug. 23, as of press time, according to the Lloydminster RCMP. In response to these crimes, Insp. Suki Manj is calling on members of the public to come forward with information to help in the investigation.
“We’re used to people committing crime to serve a purpose in their life, addiction, survival. This is needless, senseless, something that I don’t think anybody out there would justify,” Manj said at a press conference. “And for that reason I’m asking the people responsible to come forward and anybody that knows anything about this to come forward.”
At around 2:30 a.m. police were first notified of a vehicle described as a silver four-door sedan driving through residential areas and smashing windows. Manj says police were out all night searching for the suspect vehicle. One officer patrolling the area found a car that matched the description but was unable to stop the vehicle.
Manj says it is likely that only one vehicle was involved, but that it contained multiple occupants.
Police will look into whether these crimes are related to a similar incident that occurred over the night of Oct. 1, 2014, when RCMP received 26 calls related to windows being shot out with a pellet gun. Police estimated the damage at close to $10,000.
See “Vandalism,” Page 14
“That would be the first step that we’d take is to look at all the people that were identified in that investigation,” Manj said. “So at this time it’s too early to say but I would say that’s a good guess to start there.”
Manj describes the attacks as random, saying commercial and personal vehicles of all sizes were targeted. The vehicles were parked on the street in mostly residential areas across the city. No thefts from vehicles have been reported.
As part of the investigation the RCMP are increasing air surveillance, a measure which Manj says may have helped track the suspect vehicle.
“There are certain things that the public’s going to see that is different. Air support services, I’ve been in touch with them through our division and this is a resource that the RCMP have at our disposal to protect the citizens of the community. We will have more flights, regular flights over our community at random times, random dates,” Manj said.
“They’ll be coming and patrolling more often and just being another set of eyes and ears.”
Manj is discouraging members of the public from resorting to vigilantism. He says there are more constructive ways concerned citizens and victims of property crime can help police identify those responsible, like volunteering with the Lloydminster Citizen’s Patrol or Neighbourhood Watch.
“My commitment to the public is if you phone us, we will respond. We will act appropriately. We will provide the city the services that it deserves but we need those people to come forward,” Manj said.
“It’s disheartening. It’s discouraging sometimes that this type of thing happens and I take it personally. I fell responsible that I have a major responsibility in identifying these individuals.”
Those who have information but wish to remain anonymous can call the RCMP detachment or Crimstoppers.