News

Nanaimo motel owner frustrated by thefts

Aohan Cui, owner of the Value Lodge Motel on Nicol Street, looks at security camera footage. Cameras he set up to ward off theft ended up getting stolen. - CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin
Aohan Cui, owner of the Value Lodge Motel on Nicol Street, looks at security camera footage. Cameras he set up to ward off theft ended up getting stolen.
— image credit: CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

Aohan Cui, owner of the Value Lodge Motel on Nicol Street, knows who has been stealing his motel's security cameras because he has footage of the culprits in the act.

On May 18, one suspect with a bicycle and a black dog, casually rode up to the back of the motel, got off the bike, ripped a security camera off a wall and, with the dog trotting beside him, casually rode off.

Cui has filed police reports about four cameras, worth about $120 each, that have been stolen. Other businesses on Nicol Street have lost units, too, but no one has been arrested.

Cui doesn't fault already busy police and said apathy among business owners and local residents contributes to the problem. Bike thefts, car break-ins and other property crimes happen so regularly people just brush them off. He wants his neighbours to band together and make a stand against petty crime.

"It's a little disheartening to hear the attitudes of the business owners," Cui said. "They treat it as, 'Oh, it's part of doing business,' and, yes, it's a part of doing business, but if you don't take care of this issue it's going to become a bigger part of doing business."

Cui has hung posters showing suspects stealing cameras and posted videos of the thefts on YouTube.

"This is documented theft. It's documented vandalism," Cui said. "These are all things that shouldn't be taken lightly and I feel that in our society we are taking it lightly."

Const. Gary O'Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said security cameras are prime targets for theft. He advises getting advice from a security firm on how to install the devices to avoid them being stolen.

"You have to be careful with how much stock you put into solving or deterring crime with cameras," O'Brien said.

For properties with high traffic and transient populations it's best for owners to get to know their neighbours and schedule security patrols.

"Form a Block Watch, so you get to know your neighbours, so you have extra sets of eyes and ears on the parking lot and the motel – there are a number of components," O'Brien said.

Appointments can also be made to have an RCMP member conduct a security audit of properties and give tips on how to deter property crime.

To view video footage of the camera thefts, please visit Cui's YouTube posts at www.youtube.com/channel/UCsvcVozYS9drvZzG4g33-oA.

Anyone with information about these thefts is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.

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