More charges for pair accused in River Heights package thefts, garage break-ins

Two people already charged in a series of thefts in Winnipeg's River Heights neighbourhood face more charges after police recovered stolen items from a storage locker and a home in the area.

Men, 23 and 25, charged with 11 additional thefts after police recover stolen mail, bikes in home and locker

Footage from River Heights resident Lori Perdue's home security system shows a package being stolen from her doorstep in December. Two people charged in a series of mail thefts in the area now face additional charges. (Submitted by Lori Perdue)

Two people already charged in a series of thefts in Winnipeg's River Heights neighbourhood face more charges after police recovered stolen items from a storage locker and a home in the area.

Police say the items were recovered from a home on Elm Street and a storage locker in the Tuxedo Industrial area after the two men, 23 and 25, were arrested in December in connection with a string of property crimes that began in August.

The men are now accused of another 10 thefts from homes and one from a business on Empress Street where a bicycle was stolen in July.

The list of stolen items includes three bikes, mail from six homes in the area, tools and a jacket taken from a home on Oxford Street.

The 23-year-old was charged with 10 counts of possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000. The 25-year-old was charged with 11 counts of the same.

Const. Jay Murray said Friday that the Elm Street home where officers found stolen items belongs to a family member of one of the accused.

Police said in a Friday news release that it's important to report stolen property, because that helps investigators in cases like this.

Winnipeg police are asking for help to find the owner of this bike, which was recovered during the investigation. (Submitted by the Winnipeg Police Service)

They are also are asking for help to find the owner of one of the bicycles recovered in the investigation. Anyone who recognizes the bike or has information that could help is asked to call police at 204-986-2839.

'If they want it, it's gone': resident

The men were originally arrested in December while allegedly trying to steal a package delivered to a home on Wilton Avenue, police said at the time.

Florence Eastwood, who lives on Oxford Street in the area, said she's not surprised by the crimes. She's noticed an increase in crime in the area in recent years.

"Bikes are constantly being stolen, even though they can be literally locked to a steel bar on the wall. If they want it, it's gone," she said.

"A lot more people breaking into houses, and in the middle of the day, at night when people are sleeping."

She believes the increase in crime is linked to meth use in Winnipeg. When the two men charged Friday were originally arrested in December, they were also charged with possession of meth.

"I think it's more sad than anything," Eastwood said of the crimes in her neighbourhood.

She'd like to see the city and province address the problem of meth use.

"I think the city and the province really need to get their act together," she said. "This is not rocket science."

The federal and provincial governments, along with the City of Winnipeg, recently announced a new task force to tackle drugs in the city, including meth.

Police association poll

On Friday, the Winnipeg Police Association released a poll it commissioned from Probe Research, which suggests roughly half of Winnipeggers feel less safe in the city today than they did a year ago.

"We have been saying clearly for a number of years that a lack of sufficient resources will lead to less safety for Winnipeg families," police association president Moe Sabourin said in a Friday news release.

Winnipeg Police Association president Moe Sabourin said a poll commissioned by the association shows Winnipeggers view crime as a priority. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

The poll also reported that just over 60 per cent of respondents said crime should be a top priority for city hall, when asked whether the issue should a top priority, mid-level priority or lower priority.

"This data shows that Winnipeg families are now feeling that concern, and they want council to act," said Sabourin.

The poll surveyed 653 adults in Winnipeg between Nov. 27 and Dec. 6, 2018. A randomized sample of that size would yield a margin of error of +/- 3.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20. Respondents were called and asked to fill out an online questionnaire.