The Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization was the target of a thief who spent about two hours last week using a stick to steal children’s shoes through the centre’s mail slot. (Photo submitted)

Thief spends two hours stealing children’s shoes through mail slot

Incident happened last week at Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization’s centre on Needham Street

The executive director of a Nanaimo non-profit is expressing disbelief after a thief spent two hours using a stick to steal children’s shoes through the centre’s mail slot.

The incident happened in the early m orning May 15 at Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization on Needham Street and was captured in its entirety by a security camera.

“He spent over two hours, and the footage we have, I just can’t believe the effort he put in to steal the shoes,” said Teresa Nielsen, NUKO executive director.

She said the suspect used a tree branch, which he poked through the mail slot to drag shoes off of a table and toward the door. The operation started at about 3 a.m. and continued until about 5:20 a.m.

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“So he got one complete pair and then I guess he was working on a second pair, but it became daylight,” Nielsen said. “So it appears that the daylight seems to have scared him away.”

She said problems with thefts and break-in attempts appear to have increased in the area since the start of restrictions to control coronavirus spread, with fewer people out on the streets. The theft happened the day after the shoes were placed in the entrance way.

“Never in my wildest dreams was I concerned about putting those shoes there and thinking they would be stolen,” Nielsen said. “Because the centre’s closed now, due to COVID, I had put a table right inside the front door with all the kids’ personal belongings so that it was really easy for parents just to come in and select the items that belong to their child. So normally they would not be there, but honestly I did not think somebody would steal them.”

The suspect – whom Nielsen said appeared to be aware he was under surveillance because he kept his head and face turned away from the camera – managed to get a pair of expensive children’s Adidas running shoes and one shoe from a second pair he was trying to steal before he gave up and left.

The incident was reported to the Nanaimo RCMP.



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The Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization was the target of a thief who spent about two hours last week using a stick to steal children’s shoes through the centre’s mail slot. (Photo submitted) The Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization was the target of a thief who spent about two hours last week using a stick to steal children’s shoes through the centre’s mail slot. (Photo submitted)

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