Down to the wire for beleaguered Surrey businessman
A North Surrey auto parts firm is responsible for nabbing two wire thieves. But owner Brad Juckes says he's done with what he feels is a lack of enforcement in the area and will be moving to the United States as soon as possible.
Every three weeks or so, wire theft causes the phone lines to go down at Blackwell Distributors at 10894 120 St.
Juckes says during the down time he can't use the phones or process credit card purchases, and each time it happens, it costs him about $2,000 a day.
After the Canada Day long weekend, Juckes asked his employees to watch the phones. If the lights on the phone start blinking, the power has been cut. Thieves target phone lines for the copper, which they then sell.
"Every long weekend, these guys (thieves) will be off and partying – they run out of meth or crack or whatever – and so they're going to start tweaking out," Juckes said. He anticipated addicts might hit the phone lines after Canada Day.
Sure enough, at 7:53 a.m. on Tuesday, July 3, an employee noticed the lines had been cut.
He called a staff member for back-up and went out to the street and found two men in their 30s slicing phone wire.
The employee held the two there until police arrived.
Juckes says he's done trying to do the job of police.
"My fella, he could have been stabbed with a screwdriver, he could have been stabbed with a knife," Juckes said. "Why do we have to put ourselves in jeopardy to do the RCMP's job? I kind of thought that's why they get a paycheque."
He says he's had several meetings with the Mounties about the problem and he's been told that wire thieves are much more sophisticated now. Some even have a van and electrical workers' uniforms.
"You're telling me now they're too much for you," Juckes remembers telling police. "One RCMP officer told me, and I quote, 'they don't pay me enough to go down there at night.' "
Surrey RCMP Sgt. Drew Grainger was said he's not sure where Juckes heard that, but he pointed out there's an officer dedicated full time to patrol the flats of Whalley.
"Other than the foot beat unit in Whalley, there's no other area within the City of Surrey where a police officer is dedicated to a specific geographic area," Grainger said Wednesday.
He points out Mounties have been making several significant wire theft arrests, and notes it would be an inappropriate use of manpower to have an officer watching a pole outside a North Surrey business.
Instead, police are following prolific offenders and nabbing them when they steal wire.
On July 6, Surrey RCMP arrested two men with 318 kilograms (700 lbs.) of copper wire.
Nonetheless, Juckes said he's bought some property in the U.S. and plans to move there.
He's done trying to police the neighbourhood surrounding his business.
"I'm too old to come down here at three o'clock in the morning with a baseball bat," Juckes said.