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Whitehorse 'crime spree' sees dozens of parking meters destroyed

Fifty-two Whitehorse parking meters have been stolen or damaged for the money inside.

Police are looking at video and asking for public assistance in identifying culprits responsible

The city estimates about $66,000 in damages and theft has been done by the culprits. (RCMP)

Whitehorse RCMP say they are working to identify those responsible for destroying dozens of parking meters in recent months.

The police say over the past five months, 52 meters have been stolen, damaged, or both. Thirty-six have been recovered, RCMP say in a press release.

Most were severely damaged and the coins inside stolen. The value of theft and damages is estimated to be around $66,000.

"I certainly consider this somewhat of a crime spree," said the head of Whitehorse bylaw, Doug Spencer.

"Fifty-two meters over the last six months is not something I believe the city has experienced in the past," he said.

The meters were stolen from streets in the downtown, including Main and Front streets. They were later found in remote parts of the city, said Spencer.

He said city bylaw officers are assisting RCMP with their investigation. The police have been reviewing video footage from various sources and are hoping the public will come forward if they have video or information that would help catch the culprits.

Parking on Main Street in Whitehorse. Main Street is among areas targeted by the thieves. (Paul Tukker/CBC)

The RCMP say they believe several individuals and vehicles are involved.

They're asking people to call them immediately if they see suspicious activity around meters including individuals seen with tools or vehicles bumping into the meters to knock them to the ground.

People are also asked to call if they come across meters on trails or elsewhere, Spencer said.

"The parking meters are in place to maintain regular movement of traffic in support of local business," he said.

"So, if a meter goes missing, obviously we will work with our operations department in an effort to get a meter back in position."

The theft of the meters was mentioned at a recent meeting of council members and senior city staff.

The draft of a parking study before the council include includes a recommendation that city look at parking kiosks that can be used through a mobile app, cash or credit cards.

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