Kevin Butt had his vehicle broken into earlier this month. Luckily, he caught the perpetrator on camera, taking only some loose change.

Later, he says a local homeless shelter asked one of its young clients to approach Butt and apologize for committing the break-in.

During the early morning this past Monday, Butt, who lives in Range Lake north, says his daughter’s vehicle was broken into about two and a half kilometres away. A $50 gift card was stolen in the incident.

Butt is one of several Yellowknifers who have shared their experiences of vehicle break-ins on social media over the past month. Although Butt reported the incident and submitted evidence to the RCMP, he says he’s frustrated by what he sees as a lack of action on the part of law enforcement.

“People call and give them this information, with the video, and (the police are) saying, ‘Well, there’s not much we can do because the courts won’t do anything with them,’” he says. “So basically, it becomes a waste of time.”

Despite a significant amount of social media attention on recent thefts from cars in the city, Yellowknife RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Matt Halstead said there has not been a recent uptick in reported thefts from vehicles.

“We are aware that there have been some social media posts about vehicle thefts but unfortunately these reports aren’t being made to the police,” he said. “We encourage anyone who has had similar incidents occurring to report them to the police. This information assists us in determining the hotspots for this activity and allows us to plan a targeted response. Surveillance footage is also invaluable and greatly assists our investigators.”

He said based on existing evidence, there is likely more than one person responsible for the recent break-ins.

Halstead also provided a list of tips for residents to avoid theft from vehicles. These include making sure all doors are closed and locked, parking in areas with plenty of lighting, keeping valuables out of the vehicle or out of sight in the vehicle, and turning on residential exterior lights to keep the vehicle and surrounding area well lit.

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  1. I am horrified — not because Kevin Butt lost some “loose change” but by the free-for-all he triggered on social media asking readers to publicly identify the coin thief’s photo. (Butt could and should have asked for a private message, instead.) I promptly saw five young Inuit/Dene males named on the Yellowknife and NWT Rants and Rave facebook site. I was even contacted by a former Yellowknife resident who wondered if I had any suggestions. This online madness was a disgraceful feeding frenzy, falsely implicating — without evidence or apology —disadvantaged and socially powerless youngsters. It nauseated me.

    Let’s compare that episode to Kevin Menicoche’s appeal for the return of his unique, handmade traditional vest, which was stolen yesterday. No shaming, no blaming, no wild unsubstantiated guesses on who took his valuable traditional vest. Just an appeal for the return of the missing item. The vest was retrieved and Kevin’s gratitude was as gracious and humble as the initial request.

    Thank you, RCMP, for a nuanced, non-hysterical response. You demonstrated common sense.
    Thank you, Mr Menicoche, for showing us how a theft can be resolved with caring and grace. You demonstrated traditional values.

  2. I actually disagree with the police instruction to keep your vehicle door and windows locked. When I lived in YK, I would leave the doors unlocked. The thieves would open the car, see no valuables and go on to the next car which was usually locked. The thieves would then smash the window to let themselves into the locked vehicle. Moral of the story: keep your car doors unlocked. If you have any loose change, occasionally leave some for the homeless in your car. They will take the change and leave your vehicle alone.

  3. This guy figures the police can identify and charge someone from that terrible photo? Get a grip