Edmonton skating rink closes after thieves steal maintenance equipment

A south Edmonton community league has to close its outdoor skating rink after thieves took off with around $12,000 worth of maintenance equipment over the weekend.

Thieves made away with $12,000 in equipment from the North Millbourne Community Hall over the weekend

The North Millbourne Community League in south Edmonton was to close their outdoor rink for the season after thieves took off with $12,000 in rink maintenance equipment. (CBC)

A south Edmonton community league has to close its outdoor skating rink after thieves took off with around $12,000 worth of maintenance equipment over the weekend.

A worker noticed the equipment, including a snowblower and sweeper, missing from the North Millbourne Community Hall on Saturday morning.

The culprits broke the lock off the building's lock box on Friday evening or early Saturday morning, left, then came back three hours later with the keys, according to the community league's gaming director Julie Hadfield.

Thieves then returned a third time on Sunday night, breaking into the main hall from the patio and damaging some locks and cupboards.

Surveillance footage shows at least two men pulling the equipment out of the hall at around midnight on Saturday. One man is wearing what appears to be a blue coat, black pants and a black hood. Another is wearing blue pants, a blue zip-up hoodie and a light-coloured face mask.

Surveillance footage from the hall shows one of the men suspected of stealing rink equipment. (CBC)

Hadfield said she isn't sure who stole the equipment and damaged the hall, but that the suspects must have been familiar with the building.

"They were also fiddling with the security cameras, so we're assuming it's somebody who's possibly from around here or who has been… hanging around here regularly," she said. "They knew where the cameras were, they knew about the lock box, and they also knew where all of our equipment was stored. We're hoping that it isn't a community member, but it could be."

Hadfield said the league has no option but to close the rink now, and it had to lay off one person who manages the rink.

Most people who work at the league are volunteers who work hard to keep the rink safe and enjoyable for the community, she said.

"It's disappointing," Hadfield said. "Specifically the rink is for everyone, it's for everybody to enjoy. And there's not that many rinks left in the city that run because it's such a humongous amount of work."

Julie Hadfield stands in front of a broken door in the North Millbourne Community Hall. (CBC)

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