A tip from the public has led to the recovery of an expensive snowmobile, stolen from a Gander store in a brazen burglary.
The machine, worth $15,000, was taken from the back lot of Adventure Sales and Service just minutes after it closed on Jan. 2.
This was no snatch-and-grab theft.
According to general manager Daniel Wood, security video shows a single person pulling up on their own snowmobile just after 6 p.m. and methodically assembling the new vehicle. It took the thief more than 90 minutes to make a getaway.
It was a model in limited supply with distinct white and black panelling. Wood estimated there are only a dozen or so currently available for sale on the island.
Despite the brazen nature of the crime, Wood feels it lacked planning and sophistication.
“They did leave and come back a couple of times maybe with some more tools or a strap,” he said.
“For someone to spend that amount of time out in the middle of the parking lot at that hour of the day, it looked like they never had a clue.
The video surveillance is being reviewed by the Gander RCMP detachment, located just a few steps away.
“It‘s directly across our road,” said Wood. “If for some reason our alarm does sound it can be heard from the RCMP parking lot.”
Enhanced security didn‘t help
In this incident, no alarms were sounded at all and it wasn‘t until the following day the crime was discovered.
It‘s a bitter pill to swallow for Wood. Last year, Adventure Sales and Service made significant upgrades to its security system, including enhanced video monitoring, exterior LED lighting and alarm systems.
“We try to combat and get ahead but it seems like we‘re always one step behind,” said Wood.
“The RCMP have their plates full and they do their best and try to help us out,” he said. “Whatever security I need, I need to provide that on my own.”
Wood made a post about the theft on the store‘s Facebook page with images of the missing snowmobile.
According to an update on the page early Thursday morning, a tip from the public led to the recovery of the snowmobile.
Wood confirmed the vehicle had been located but declined further detail.
Staff Sergeant Roger Flynn of the Gander RCMP detachment said the investigation into the theft is continuing.