RCMP are urging Fort Smith residents to remain vigilant after a handgun and ammunition were stolen in a pair of recent break-ins in the community.
In the early hours of Aug. 25, Fort Smith Mounties were alerted to a burning all-terrain vehicle at a local soccer field, stated a news release from RCMP Wednesday.
The fire, which caused extensive damage to the vehicle, was extinguished by the Fort Smith Fire Department.
Police are investigating the blaze, which has been ruled arson.
On the same day, police received a report of a break and enter at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) compound, located on the highway in Fort Smith.
Police say breaches at two buildings resulted in the theft of two collapsible batons, one set of handcuffs, two flair guns, two to four cans of oleoresin capsicum spray (pepper spray), eight to 12 boxes of 180 grain Winchester 30-06 rounds of ammunition and an all terrain vehicle.
Police later identified the stolen ATV as the same vehicle found burning just hours earlier.
Two days later, on Aug. 27, police responded to another theft, this time at a residence in the community.
A Browning Challenger handgun, along with a TV, iPad, laptop and collectable coins were taken from the home, according to the news release.
While the two incidents appear to be unrelated, police say they’re concerned about the “potentially dangerous items” being unaccounted for.
“On their own, the individual items would not be a cause for concern. Collectively, this represents a potential threat to the safety and security of residents and first responders,” stated RCMP spokesperson Marie York-Condon in the release.
“We need the public’s help to locate these items,” stated York-Condon.
Due to a delay in “receiving the information,” York-Condon noted investigators have “little to go on in locating the stolen items.”
“The missing handgun is of concern, as it can be a dangerous weapon. We are asking the public to be alert for any possible sighting of a handgun, or if someone finds one, please report it to your RCMP for proper removal and storage,” she wrote.
Residents are asked to report suspicious activity and keep an eye out for the missing items, which police say may turn up in the community – or in other communities.
Anyone with information about the break-ins and the alleged arson is urged to contact Fort Smith RCMP at 867-872-1111 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, nwtnutips.com, (click on “submit a web tip”) or text: nwtnutips to 274637.