Police have received several reports of thefts at the South Hampton condo complex this week after a devastating fire that caused $10 million in damage and forced 400 people out of their homes.
Det. Michael Keef said police have received seven confirmed reports but expect more in the following days.
Keef said a majority of the reported stolen goods were small items that “can be taken quickly and are easily concealable.”
The value of the items is varied, but Keef said one suite had between $40,000 and $45,000 worth of goods taken.
“When so many people are evacuating a building like that anyone can go in without being noticed,” Keef said. “There’s a lot of chaos going on.”
The blaze began early Monday morning after a cigarette was improperly butted out in a planter. No one was injured in the fire, but one-third of the units were heavily damaged or destroyed and many residents will be out of their suites for more than a year.
On Thursday residents were given 20 minutes to go into their suites and collect as many belongings as they could.
When Serena Banman walked into her destroyed apartment, the door was already wide open.
“I didn’t notice anything was fishy until walking into my bedroom when I saw jewellery thrown about my bed,” she told CBC News on Friday. “All the dresser drawers were pulled open and stuff was thrown everywhere.”
Banman said her new iPad mini was stolen, as well as an iPhone 4.
“I started looking at where all my expensive and more sentimental items were kept and thankfully found everything else,” she said. “But of course in that moment you can’t really picture what else could have been stolen except for those obvious things.”
Banman says she is not sure if anything else was stolen, as she only had 20 minutes to go through her suite.
“I might not know everything that was taken until we are able to get all our contents out, which could be months from now.”
Dennis Begoray is another resident whose discovered items missing from his suite. He also sits on the South Hampton condo complex board and said the board has expressed “outrage” over the incident.
A security company took over the scene after Edmonton fire had completed its investigation on Tuesday. Begoray said the security company monitoring the site will be bringing in additional resources, including a guard dog.
Keef said the items could have been stolen anytime between Monday and Sunday. Police will be monitoring pawn shops, social media and Kijiji for the stolen goods.
“Being victimized once is hard enough,” Keef said. “The last thing you want to see is a victim victimized again, from the same event.”