Erin Nicholls said he felt “sick to his stomach” when he entered his shed recently only to find that someone had taken his ATV four-wheeler, two chainsaws, two hunting bows and arrows.

The West Guilford resident said it’s the first time something such as this has happened to him.

He said the fact he was home and tucked into bed when culprits executed the crime between about midnight and 5 a.m. is equally upsetting.

“In a small town, we’ve been safe our whole life here. We never had to worry about stuff like this. I guess we’re trusting people.”

However, the trust has been shattered for numerous Haliburton County residents in the past six weeks or so.

The Haliburton Highlands detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police issued a press release Aug. 5 warning the public of a recent increase in property thefts within the community.

“Since July 1, 2021 the Haliburton Highlands detachment has received reports of approximately a dozen thefts of vehicles, licence plates and catalytic converters,” police said.

Another victim reported a theft on Facebook. Graham Borgdorff said a snowmobile trailer was unlawfully removed from his driveway in Minden Hills while they were away. Borgdorff posted a picture of the 18 x 16 ft aluminium trailer asking people to share his post and “if you see it, please let me know.”

Theresa and Gary Fahl were victimized, too, having their 28-foot travel trailer stolen from a compound in Minden Hills. They reported the theft to OPP July 12. They got the trailer back but it had been trashed and was involved in a drug-related arrest.

Nicholls said he doesn’t think he’ll get his property returned and he has no idea what the motive for the break-in at his place was. He is troubled by the fact the shed’s contents were not visible from the road. “Someone knew that stuff was here. Is it someone local? It is on the way to the city?

Police offer prevention tips

You just want to know who would do such a thing and why.”

However, he said ever since he went public with what happened to him, he has heard of similar stories, including the theft of pontoon boats.

He added there was monetary value in what was taken, but sentimental value as well as one of the chainsaws belonged to his father and another to his brother. He had also built up a nice bow hunting equipment collection until the theft.

He said in talking to several people who have reached out to him, they are beginning to lock their homes and vehicles for the first time ever.

“How sad it is our community now has to be on watch all the time.”

 In their warning, OPP said the incidents are under investigation and there is no concern for public safety.

They provided tips to keep possessions safe, such as:

• Install video surveillance at various locations around your property.

• Install an alarm system.

• Keep doors to vehicles locked and do not leave valuable items in your vehicle.

• Install motion sensored lights on your property.

If you have information or video surveillance that may assist in these investigations, contact the OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or Crime Stoppers to remain anonymous at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

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