A group of residents in Calgary's Inglewood community raided a homeless camp in the woods to reclaim what they say is stolen property after discovering a chained-up stash of bicycles, baby carriers, computers and tools there.
The residents said they took matters into their own hands out of frustration with what they claim is inaction on the part of Calgary police.
While walking her dog on Tuesday, Cheryl Myers became aware of a large camp in a wooded area filled with a variety of goods she believed to be stolen.
She and a group of three other neighbours later went to the camp to take pictures of the stash.
"We saw several Chariots for bikes, about half a dozen bicycles, bicycle parts, laptops, stereos, tents, patio cushions, blankets, needles, tools, knives — there was a lot of everything," Myers said.
"We were in there taking pictures and then we were out again."
The images were posted to a community Facebook page, where at least one woman identified a Chariot — a baby carrier — as the one that had been stolen from her home days earlier.
Myers said she called police to report the stolen property and asked that they come help get it back but officers didn't show up.
"We waited quite a while and they weren't coming and it was getting dark," she said.
"We made the decision as a group to go back and get the Chariot."
'We're not running down into camps with pitchforks'
Bringing along a pair of bolt cutters, the group went back into the woods to retrieve the baby carrier.
"They had it chained to a tree, which is kind of ironic," Myers said. "They locked it up. And we did release it and we took it."
Myers said they didn't encounter any campers while they were there but, had they run into someone, they had no plans of confronting or engaging them.
"We're not running down into camps with pitchforks or anything like that."
Myers says she and others really just want police to take action.
"Help us figure out how to solve this rather than just telling us to call," she said.
Police warn citizen action could be 'recipe for disaster'
Police say, however, they are investigating the camp in question and others, and they don't advise citizens taking unilateral actions like these.
"We're all for residents being passionate and engaged in the community but to go into encampments and start taking property, from a police perspective, that's a recipe for disaster," said Sgt. Vince Hancott.
"The last thing that we want is to have someone seriously injured because of a confrontation in a wooded area."
Myers said she and others in Inglewood just want the thefts to end.
"We want a safe neighbourhood for everyone."