Happy Valley General Store owner Jim Rathwell stands by the store's front door

Ten days, three break-ins at corner store

  • Jan. 27, 2011 7:00 a.m.

By the time Jim Rathwell hears the alarm from Happy Valley General Store, he knows it’s probably too late.

The storeowner has been frustrated by a persistent thief who targeted his Langford shop three times in the past 10 nights, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

“We’re a small business, we can’t take this kind of hit financially,” said Rathwell who opened the convenience store and deli on Happy Valley Road in 2009. “This is the first time we’ve had to deal with something like this.”

The thief made a failed attempt to enter through the store roof on Jan. 17 and two nights later someone banged out the lock on the rear door to successfully gain entry. Nothing was stolen until the third break-in.

At about 3:45 a.m. on Jan 27 a lone male entered the store through the front door after smashing out the bolt lock. He quickly filled a blue tote bin with cigarettes, lottery tickets and potato chips and made his getaway in a dark four-door car. He left a children’s car seat at the scene when he fled.

The store’s audible security alarm was tripped in all three break-ins, however it’s one-minute delay allowed the speedy thief time to clear the scene before it was activated. West Shore RCMP attended the area, but were unable locate the man.

In security footage his head, face and hands were covered and a witness near the scene was unable to provide a detailed description of the suspect. It’s not clear if a second suspect was waiting in the car.

“It’s the type of thing that can really make a person bitter,” Rathwell said, noting that he was having trouble convincing his insurance company to cover the losses.

“It’s some coward that did this,” he said. “We’re a tight community. If somebody needed help, he should have just come to me and asked. The damage he’s done to the store is coming straight out of my pocket.”

The West Shore RCMP is asking for the public’s help in identifying the culprit. Anyone with information is asked to contact West Shore RCMP 250-474-2264 (reference file No. 2011-1111) or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222 TIPS(8477).

Just Posted

Science fair draws best junior scientists from Vancouver Island to Victoria

200 young science enthusiasts share their inventions and discoveries at UVic

Young cyclist struck near Galloping Goose Trail

Minor injuries reported by police

Vic. Symphony, Jeans ‘n Classics will rock you with the Best of Queen

Post-Bohemian Rhapsody, Pops Series concerts bring British band’s music back into spotlight

LOCAL FLAVOUR: Farm Whisperer tackles tough subject of farm succession

Linda Geggie is executive director with CR-FAIR

New Coast Guard ship crashes into Ogden Point breakwater

‘It is fairly unprecedented that it would happen’

VIDEO: Keeping the hope alive, 28 years later

Annual Michael Dunahee Keep the Hope Alive run raised money for Child Find B.C.

Bobrovsky perfect as Blue Jackets blank Canucks 5-0

Vancouver shut out for 10th time this season

Fundraising campaign launched for man caught in SilverStar avalanche

In only two days, the GoFundMe surpassed its $15,000 goal

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says future assembly deliberations won’t be closed to public

Reversal comes after Saanich Coun. Judy Brownoff raised concerns

Terror at sea: Helicopter rescues frightened cruise passengers in Norway

The Viking Sky cruise ship was carrying 1,300 passengers and crew when it experienced engine trouble

Search and rescue team helicopters injured climber from B.C. provincial park

A 30-year-old woman suffered a suspected lower-limb fracture in Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

DOJ: Trump campaign did not co-ordinate with Russia in 2016

Attorney General William Barr said special counsel “does not exonerate” Trump of obstructing justice

Most Read