The home of Calgary’s top firefighter was the latest target in what police are calling a citywide problem.
On Monday, Chief Steve Dongworth’s home was broken into and the thieves made off with at least one irreplaceable item.
“It happened during broad daylight,” said his wife Sheree, holding back tears. “There wasn’t a drawer that wasn’t open. Every closet had been emptied out onto the floor. From the top of the house to the basement, everything had been pulled out.”
The Dongworths estimate over $20,000 worth of valuables was taken from their home, but the item missed the most is a camera with little dollar value.
Sheree was the official photographer at an event benefitting children who are battling cancer and all the photos are on the camera’s memory card.
“All their parents have asked me and other organizations to please give them a disk with all the pictures on it and unfortunately I’m going to let them down.”
Since 2015, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of break and enters in Calgary. The city is averaging 20 every day—a number Calgary Police Sgt. Sean Gregson says is fueled by a slumping economy and drugs.
“We absolutely know that many of the offences are tied to the drug trade and offenders are seeking to feed their habits.”
To try and better serve the community, CPS has restructured resources and officers to a centralized break and enter unit which has led to better investigative techniques.
“We’re able to see trends that happen in one district occurring in another and bringing that information together as a group to identify offenders faster,” Gregson said.
Still, with a year-over-year-increase in home break-ins, people have been turning to technology like video doorbells that can be monitored remotely on your phone.
“I can monitor my house in Calgary or Arizona,” said AE Security owner Randy Larkam. “I get alerts when someone enters a room and can look on my phone to see if it’s the cleaning lady or someone in a balaclava.”
The chance of the Dongworths getting any of their items back is slim, however Sheree does have a plea for thieves.
“Just take the memory card out of the camera and put it in an envelope addressed to Calgary police or a local news outlet.”
© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.