Nanaimo Airport to boost security against vehicle break-ins

NANAIMO – Nanaimo Airport bolstering security following recent parking lot vehicle break-ins.

Recent vehicle break-ins have prompted Nanaimo Airport to bolster security in its parking lots.

Four vehicle break-ins have occurred since late May, mostly to steal loose change and low-value items left visible in cars. The costliest break-in was reported to Ladysmith RCMP June 25, when a vehicle owner from Duncan, who had left his car parked for three days, discovered missing was a waterproof Pelican case containing a Christini FiberScan One microwave gauge used for testing large industrial paper machines and valued at $34,000.

An older-model truck was also stolen from the lot several months earlier.

“It seems like the last month or so we’ve been getting a rash of stuff out there,” said Cpl. Richard Fraser of Ladysmith RCMP. “It comes and goes in waves.”

Police are also looking for two suspects, whose images were caught on security cameras when they allegedly broke into the Cassidy Farm Market, located across the Island Highway from Nanaimo Airport, in mid-June.

Fraser said most vehicles are broken into for small change, radar detectors, sunglasses and other inexpensive items left where thieves can see them.

Nanaimo Airport has security staff on site who patrol airport and security cameras, but the parking lots are open to the public and not fenced and locked as are the the runway and other flight operations areas.

“In Nanaimo, in a given parking lot, you get more than that happening in a month, but for us, we’re so safe out here we don’t get that happening very often,” said Mike Hooper, Nanaimo Airport president and CEO.

But in response to the recent incidents, Hooper said more security cameras and security personnel are being added.

“We’ve got six additional cameras we’re putting on site … and we’re increasing our lighting on site,” Hooper said. “We’re also embracing Lock Out Auto Crime.”

The Lock Out Auto Crime programs offers tips on how to prevent auto thefts and break-ins.

Hooper said airport staff will also check parked cars and place Lock Out Auto Crime notices for owners of vehicles containing visible valuables.