A rash of break & enters and thefts in South Frontenac has rattled local residents.
Sitting in his family’s 19th century farmhouse in Battersea, 68-year-old Frank Kirkpatrick talks about the theft of his ATV in August.
“The intrusion is something that sticks with you,” says Kirkpatrick who believes thieves took his four wheeler and two cans of gas hours after a family dinner. “It robs you of your sense of security.”
According to Kirkpatrick, the ATV was used to transport firewood off his farmland. A report has been filed with the police and a claim has been submitted to the insurance company.
“I went out in the morning and it was gone,” says the friendly farmer about his overnight loss which is symbolic of other thefts in South Frontenac Township this summer.
That week was the first time anything had been stolen from the house since it was built more than 150 years ago. That same week, the vehicle of a nearby family was broken into and money/cards were stolen.
“Two nights prior (to the theft of the ATV), the three-point trailer hitch was stolen off my truck,” explains Kirkpatrick. “My brother and I were going fishing. When we backed-up to the boat, the trailer hitch was gone.”
As a well-known fishing guide in the area, Kirkpatrick admits, “If they had stolen my boat, I would have been a wild man.”
Living in his own 19th century historical farmhouse near Kirkpatrick, South Frontenac Township Councillor Ron Sleeth confirms there has been a rash of thefts in the area this summer. The observation was validated by a notice on the township website in August advising residents to lock their property.
According to the township, Frontenac OPP responded to at least eight calls of theft from unlocked vehicles this summer and many calls of theft of personal property.
To counter the problem, residents can:
· Install a security system or motion-detector lights around their property
· Lock the garage
· Change locks when moving into a house
· Install strong locks on all doors and windows
· Keep keys guarded against unauthorized duplication
· Use the peephole before answering the door
· Use automatic timers to control lights when away from house
“People in the country are very trusting of one another and tend not to lock their cars or homes like people in the city,” says Sleeth when asked about the situation. “It’s something we have to be careful of because crime can happen to anyone, anywhere. We need to be more vigilant with protecting our property. Homes and property should be locked up and secured.”
To avoid a repeat performance, Kirkpatrick is now taking precautions.
“There hasn’t been a lock in that garage for 100 years,” he says. “But this is what happens when you get complacent. Everything will be locked from now on.”