A couple who owns land in Tory Hill are second-guessing their decision to relocate to Haliburton County permanently after twice being targeted by thieves over the past month.

Laura Hamilton and Michael McCarrey purchased property near the IB&O rail trail in 2021, with plans to build their dream home and move north to raise their two young daughters. While they worked on design plans and finding a contractor, the couple stationed an RV at the site to give them a seasonal destination to escape the city.

“We love hanging out in nature, having campfires in the woods, staring at the stars at night. It’s a really peaceful spot up there, totally different from what we’re used to living in Kitchener,” McCarrey said. “We settled on this place because of the geocaching for the kids, the nice hills, scenery, beautiful trails. It seemed the perfect fit for our family.”

Things turned sour last month when, on April 23, a lone man hopped the fence of the property and helped himself to McCarren’s fishing gear, including two rods and a 35-year collection of fishing lures. The man returned May 4, damaging the fence and stealing a generator. McCarrey estimated the value of goods stolen to be around $2,500, but that much of the fishing gear held sentimental value, being passed down by family members.

McCarren installed security cameras at the site last summer and has submitted footage to the OPP. He said two of his neighbours have also reported thefts in the past two weeks. Attempts to reach the neighbours for an interview were unsuccessful.

Cst. Matthew Taylor of the Haliburton Highlands OPP said police had responded to break and enters at two properties along the IB&O rail trail in Tory Hill recently.

“These are still ongoing investigations… we are looking for witnesses to come forward with any information,” he said. “A good reminder to the community would be to lock it or lose it, as it is always important to lock vehicles and residences.”

Taylor said the incidents are being investigated separately. He declined to reveal if the police had any suspects.

Hamilton said they do what they can to keep seasonal items locked away, noting the culprit used bolt cutters to break a cable lock on the generator. She said the whole situation has left her feeling uneasy.

“I definitely feel vulnerable. I worry about them coming back. Are they going to come while we’re there with our daughters? It’s just so heartbreaking and invasive,” she said.

We’re coming forward with this because we want to alert the community about what’s happening. Lock your stuff up if you’re able to, keep an eye out. Just because it’s not happened to you doesn’t mean it won’t. We didn’t think this kind of thing would ever happen to us.”

McCarrey said there is one silver lining to take from the ordeal.

“My neighbours and I have kind of bonded over this, it’s helped bring us together. I won’t lie, this has taken the wind out of our sails a little bit, but I don’t want to judge the area on this. This kind of thing could happen anywhere. It’s just disheartening to have people invade our privacy and personal space like this,” he said.