North

Whitehorse campground thefts remain unsolved

There have been several thefts at the Robert Service campground in the last two weeks. Officials believe people from town are coming into the campground and stealing from the sites as campers sleep.

12 reported thefts in the campground last year; 5 this year

The city's Marc Boulerice said they are doing their best to warn campers about the recent thefts, but it's hard to stop the problem. They have installed lockers and are letting campers store larger belongings in the office. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

There have been several thefts at the Robert Service campground in Whitehorse over the last two weeks.

Last Friday, three campsites were robbed.

One of the robberies left two women on a journey from Alaska to the Arctic Ocean stranded without critical gear.

This is the first year the city of Whitehorse has run the campground, but it was warned by the previous owner about theft in the area.

The city of Whitehorse has installed lockers at the Robert Service Campground in order to help avoid theft. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

"We do feel bad about this, we think it's a very unfortunate event," said Marc Boulerice, acting manager for parks and community development for the city.

Five thefts have been reported at the campground since May, according to RCMP.

Last year there were 12 thefts between May 1 and Sept. 30.

To help deal with the issue, the campground has installed lockers, and has offered to keep items stored in the backroom of the office.

"It seems that it's not the campers that are doing this," said Boulerice.

Several items have been found scattered along the Millennium Trail leading into the Riverdale neighbourhood. Boulerice said they believe it's people coming from town that are doing the stealing. 

Signs are posted throughout the Robert Service Campground warning people to keep their belongings locked up. There have been five reported thefts at the campground since May. Many of which have occurred over the last two weeks. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

The city also extended hours for the attendants to 1 a.m. some nights to help deter the problem. 

However, Boulerice said Friday's thefts occurred even with an attendant on the later patrol.

"The campground is a fairly large area, so it's fairly difficult to catch anybody in the act," said Boulerice.

For now, campground staff are warning people about the thefts when they come to register for a site, and there are posters up around the campground.

RCMP say all thefts have been under $5,000.

Leigh Swansborough and Clarissa Black, the women whose gear was stolen last week, said they had about $4,000 worth of gear stolen from them. 

"But we have collected the things we need to continue on our trip based on the kindness of everybody in this town," said Black. 

They plan to paddle up to Dawson City on Thursday. 

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