River patrols stepped up as thieves take advantage of flood victims
Flooded residents warn of thieves breaking into homes affected by flood waters
As if record high water levels weren't enough to contend with, some flood victims are now having to contend with thieves.
Early Sunday morning farmer Markus Harvey says he was jolted awake by the sound of people rummaging through his Maugerville home.
It caught him off guard as he says he's the only member of his family still living in the house, which is surrounded by water.
He shouted when he saw the beams from flashlights coming up the stairway to his bedroom.
"I just yelled out "Hello" and a guy said 'you need to evacuate' and then all I could hear was scurrying rats running out of my back door," said Harvey. "So I jumped out of bed, ran down the stairs. I heard splashing behind my house."
"I looked over the downriver edge and saw there were three lovely thieves in a red canoe and masks on, paddling away at a feverish pace," said Harvey.
Harvey says he managed to quickly grab his camera, put on a long lens and snap a photo of three men as they fled the scene via canoe.
"You could identify what the colour of the canoe was and the fact that the fellow in the front was wearing yellow hip-waders."
He then called the RCMP and his neighbours.
"It wasn't too long, about half an hour, I had a friend down the road who said he had eyes on them," said Harvey.
Harvey then called the fire department and other officials.
"I do believe it was forest rangers that spotted them first and kind of held them up until the RCMP came from behind and they apprehended all three."
Constable Warren Vogan with the Oromocto RCMP detachment was in Maugerville Sunday investigating another theft. He confirmed there were arrests that morning.
"There have been three arrests, yes," said Cst. Vogan. "They are in custody."
A press release issued by RCMP Sunday evening stated that all three suspects are men. Two are aged 29 and the third is 25. All three remain in custody, and police confirm that no one was hurt and nothing was taken.
RCMP also say the canoe the three suspects used to flee in may have been stolen.
No charges had been laid as of Sunday evening.
Firefighters, police, the coast guard and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are on the St. John river patrolling and helping residents who may be late in evacuating or in need of transport.
"We are definitely doing everything we can to keep people safe," said Sergeant Andrew Griffiths of the Oromocto RCMP detachment. Griffiths said officials are being vigilant and on the look-out for looters.
"We have a lot of agencies out there as well as RCMP," said Griffiths. "There are a lot of eyes."
Sunday afternoon the Emergency Measures Organization also addressed break-ins.
"Security patrolling is being conducted to ensure that areas that have been evacuated are being kept an eye on so they can certainly not be taken advantage of," said Greg MacCallum, director of the New Brunswick EMO.