A spree of incidents involving fire department lock boxes being tampered with has caused police to open an investigation.
On March 10, the Kelowna Fire Department notified Kelowna RCMP that a large amount of the boxes, which are mounted on the side of buildings and contain keys and fobs for easy access to entries for the fire department, had been damaged throughout the city since February. In some cases, keys and fobs had been stolen from the boxes.
The investigation has determined that 16 such cases have been reported in this time period, nine of which were determined as incidents of mischief with damage and seven of which resulted in theft.
According to a map of incident locations provided by Kelowna RCMP, buildings involved seem to be in the areas of Rutland, Springfield, and Quail Ridge.
Kelowna Fire Prevention Officer Paul Johnson said that the lock boxes are not owned by the fire department, but by the buildings. The Kelowna Fire Department and Kelowna RCMP will be sending out a joint letter to local building owners/managers on how to update the locks on existing lock boxes, where to purchase new ones, and tips on how to enhance security.
“We are working closely with our partners at the Kelowna Fire Department,” said Cpl. Tammy Lobb, Media Relations Officer for the Kelowna RCMP. “We encourage property managers to check their lock boxes for signs of tampering and if access has been gained, report it to the fire department as well as police. If you see anyone accessing the fire lock boxes, ask them for identification. Both fire department personnel and locksmiths will carry identification. Non-authorized persons should be reported to the RCMP immediately”.