The wheels were taken from a Jeep at Swan Lake Motors Sunday in broad daylight. (Submitted Photo)

Okanagan man retrieves stolen wheels from homeless camp

A man with a shopping cart took the tires and rims off the Jeep in plain daylight

A Vernon car salesman took matters into his own hands Monday after arriving at work to find a Jeep lifted up on blocks with all four wheels stolen.

“First thing that went through my brain is a guy in a truck came, took them and I will never see them again,” said Joe Skerritt, who owns Swan Lake Motors with his family.

But when he checked out the surveillance camera footage from Sunday, he was surprised to see that a guy with a grocery cart took the tires in broad daylight.

“So instead of calling the police and hearing the regular ‘well sir there isn’t much we can do,’ I walked down to the homeless camp and found three of the four wheels and tires this man stole from us.”

Skerritt realizes that the RCMP are inundated with stolen property files.

“I knew that they weren’t going to go look for my stolen property, and I don’t think that’s their job either. Their job is to catch the criminal.”

See: Vernon homeless camp leaves business owner frustrated

So with a friend, Skerritt did his own leg work and was pleasantly surprised.

Everyone he talked to at the camps were very helpful and he even ended up finding the fourth wheel.

“I went down there totally peaceful, had no confrontation, no issues, nothing,” said Skerritt, who advises that if anyone does have confrontation to then call the RCMP.

While looking around the homeless camp he also found numerous amounts of alleged stolen items: central vacuums, endless propane tanks, tons of bike frames, small barbecues, car parts and much more.

“To my surprise that wasn’t the worst of it. While looking for the last tire we decided to take a look at the other camp behind Temptations on the overpass. This camp had more inventory then Home Depot.”

Hundreds of cordless drills, TVs, bike frames, and wheels and tires were among the many items.

“If you are looking for anything I suggest taking a stroll as seeing if you can find your belongings,” said Skerritt, who just wants people to have their stuff back.

“Every tool, every bike I just thought of the families and businesses.”

Skerritt’s efforts have garnered a lot of attention after he shared it on Facebook Monday: “17,000 people looked at it.

“That many people are just as upset as I am.”

Hence why the City of Vernon is hosting a public town hall meeting tonight (Tuesday) at the rec centre at 6 p.m.

See: Vernon council sets town hall meeting on downtown issues

Skerritt plans to attend and has a proposed solution to dealing with stolen property issues which have plagued the region.

“There has to be a better solution because I just think it’s too easy for them.”

He suggests a weekly visit by a couple RCMP members and volunteers to homeless camps to load up any potentially stolen items. Then, Skerritt suggests, have the items available to the public, who with proper ID, receipts or whatever is needed, can claim back their stolen goods.

“The rest of the stuff they auction off and donate back to the homeless,” said Skerritt.


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Swan Lake Motors surveillance footage shows a man with wheels from a Jeep under cardboard. (Submitted Photo)

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: A pandemic continues

Measures to control the spread of COVID-19 were introduced six months ago

LETTER: Lekhi family received support from Summerland

Family was showed kindness following racist vandalism in summer

Okanagan Three Tenors perform at seniors care facilities

Summerland-based trio has been holding outdoor concerts during the summer

Spoon-wielding man draws police presence in Penticton

Police say no one was harmed during the incident

Ashton questions need for fall provincial election

MLA for riding of Penticton has served in legislature since 2013

Record-breaking 165 new COVID-19 cases diagnosed in B.C. in 24-hour period

Fifty-seven people are in hospital battling the novel coronavirus

Interior Health reports four new cases of COVID-19

First hospitalization since mid-August announced

Rail traffic starts moving after 60-car derailment near Hope

Clean up effort ongoing after 60 cars carrying potash crashed along a rail bridge

March to protect old growth, stop industrial logging coming to B.C. Legislature

Organizers say they want to give frontline communities a bigger say in nearby logging

B.C. releases details of $1.5B economic recovery plan, $660M in business tax incentives

Economic plan includes support for employers, as well as training for workers

‘Not criminally responsible’ hearing slated for man convicted of Abbotsford school stabbing

Gabriel Klein was found guilty in March of killing Letisha Reimer, 13, in 2016

Conservation groups blast province for logging in caribou habitat near Revelstoke

In the last year, 104 cuts have been approved near Revelstoke in caribou habitat

Most Read