Small theft makes big impact

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The petty theft of pop and chips, and some other items, from the Mitiq Co-op in Sanikiluaq Jan 21 will be felt by many in the community.

RCMP Cpl. Henry Coman said the theft took place at approximately 5:30 p.m. on the Sunday evening.

The Mitiq Co-op in Sanikiluaq experienced a theft at its satellite building, which houses a residence and a small convenience store, the evening of Jan. 21. The thief took off with pop, chips, and other food.
photo courtesy Arctic Co-operatives Limited

“A lone individual broke in through a rear door and stole an unknown amount of pop, chips, and other food, placing them inside a coat they were wearing and left,” said Coman.

“This part was captured on video but once out of camera view, the individual then removed the coat, which was taken from another part of the structure out of camera view, leaving the coat where it was before this incident.”

“The individual broke in through a back door of (the) unoccupied residence where the manager normally stays but, due to vacancy, that extra layer of security was not there,” said Coman.

Vice-president of stakeholder relations for Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. Duane Wilson explained the theft did not take place at the main store building, adding the residence is usually occupied by a Co-op manager or assistant manager.

“Regrettably, break-ins, property damage and vandalism is a fairly common occurrence in the communities. It’s certainly not an isolated thing. Especially instances of vandalism,” he said.

“Which is pretty unfortunate because there’s certainly a lot of struggles with trying to operate in remote communities, especially when things like repairs and maintenance can be much more expensive because materials and trades are not as readily available.”

Wilson emphasized the cooperative is owned by the residents in the community.

On Facebook, residents expressed anger and unhappiness at news of the break-in.

“You really end up with a case of that property damage and the cost to fix it ultimately is borne by the residents of the community, the very same ones that are struggling with high food prices. There’s already pressure because of high utility bills and all these other pressures. Unexpected repairs and maintenance – unfortunately, it’s waste,” said Wilson.

“People who are in a tough position to pay for it ultimately need to in one way, shape or form. Whether it’s reduced Co-op patronage because the Co-op has to have this expense instead of having that as income, or in the form of higher prices. It’s some blend of those two extremes for the co-operative.”

Coman said no identifying features were captured on video, so police do not have any suspects.

As a result, RCMP are not actively investigating, but Coman said police advised the Co-op to take precautions to mitigate this from happening again.

“We recommend an alarm in such an event. That is normal practice for us.”

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Michele LeTourneau first arrived at NNSL's headquarters in Yellowknife in1998, with a BA honours in Theatre. For four years she documented the arts across the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Following a very short stint as a communications officer with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Michele spent a decade at a community-based environmental monitoring board in the mining industry, where she worked with Inuit, Chipewyan, Tlicho, Yellowknives Dene and Metis elders to help develop traditional knowledge and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit contributions for monitoring and management plans. She rejoined NNSL and moved to Iqaluit in May 2014 to write for Nunavut News. Michele has received a dozen awards for her work with NNSL.