Carbonear homeowners use vigilante tactics after break-ins

Accusations of police inaction has led to vigilante alternatives in Carbonear, as residents who had their homes broken into took matters into their own hands.
RCMP Sgt. Greg Hicks on break-ins in Carbonear. Residents are frustrated with what they consider a lack of police action 2:00

Accusations of police inaction have led to vigilante alternatives in Carbonear, as residents who had their homes broken into have taken matters into their own hands.

There have been eight break-ins in the town of 5,000 during the past two months. 

They said, 'Why are ye here? Why are ye people here in my police station?' We were basically told to go home- Wade Mutrey 

The RCMP have said they are investigating the break-ins – but have yet to make an arrest. 

The incidents occurred in homes when the owners were away on vacation.

Carbonear resident Adam Dove had his home robbed while he and his wife were vacationing in Cuba. 

"It's very meticulous and you can't even really notice damage on the door," Dove told CBC News. 

Carbonear resident Adam Dove says the recent string of break-ins has changed his view of the town. (CBC)
"Pets are left in the house, the house is left maybe with drawers open, jewelry is being taken, we've had our guitars taken. But that's about the only big stuff. IPads, iPods, it seems that they know what to take with jewelry too. It's not the costume jewelry, it's the expensive stuff," Dove said.

"Nothing is beaten up. I mean, they're entering houses where you have big dogs, loud dogs, and for some reason they're getting in. And when they leave, they shut the door and they lock it. We've got people putting in infrared cameras and security systems, I mean in Carbonear, Newfoundland — this is crazy." 

Sleuthing of their own

Recently, Dove and a small group of other affected homeowners decided to do a little detective work — and scoped out the house of someone they thought could have been involved in the robberies.

"We had our suspicions, [and] we approached an individual. We actually seen people running with bags saying, 'Oh we're screwed, we're screwed, we're screwed,' Dove said. "We chased them and couldn't find them, approached the young man and asked him questions. He totally denied, and I mean there was a push and a shove, nothing big, and an exchange of words. The RCMP showed up and basically I was almost charged with assault."  

Wade Mutrey says his home was broken into this past week. (CBC)
On Tuesday night, Dove and several other homeowners went to the RCMP detachment in Harbour Grace to talk with police. One of the homeowners provided an audio recording of someone who allegedly spoke to one of the burglars.

"They said they were talking to this person ... and this person admitted to homes he has broken into, homes that are going to be broken into, merchandise that's been taken. Specifically, there was Samurai swords taken from someone's house, they were mentioned. There was an old ring that was probably 50 or 60 years old, that was probably worth a couple thousand dollars, but now it's only $100, because it's hot," said Dove. 

Not happy with RCMP response

Wade Mutrey, whose home was broken into in the last week, said the group was not treated very well.

We've got people putting in infrared cameras and security systems, I mean in Carbonear Newfoundland — this is crazy- Adam  Dove, whose home was broken into recently

"They really didn't want us to be there. They done a couple of interviews with a couple of people, and it seemed like they were sick of doing interviews, and then they just came out and stood in the doorway — and we were pointed at actually. They said, 'Why are ye here? Why are ye people here in my police station?' We were basically told to go home," Mutrey said.

Mutrey also claims that one of the homeowners had a break-in a month ago and said police never took a statement until the group met at the RCMP detachment two nights ago. 

He added they were told to go home and says police were not interested in the recording.
The Town of Carbonear has had seven break-ins in the last couple of months. Police are yet to make an arrest. (CBC)

Meanwhile, RCMP Sgt. Greg Hicks said they understand people are frustrated, but added the investigation is ongoing. He said one of the incidents was unfounded.

"I can confirm that this issue is currently under investigation by both our patrol officers and our general investigation section. It's a very active investigation and we just ask that people remain patient and let the investigators gather the evidence they need," said Hicks.