Theft of property as much a part of Osoyoos summer as sunshine

It’s as much an Osoyoos summer pastime as soaking up the sun, waterskiing or doing a slow crawl through South Okanagan wineries.

Except that none of those activities have folks this pissed off.

It’s the overnight practice of lifting other people’s property.

Theft. Stealing. Whatever you want to call it.

“That’s (one) problem with summertime here,” said Sgt. Jason Bayda, who commands the Osoyoos RCMP detachment. “You get people (including criminals) coming here because of the good weather.

“And we get that every year, it seems. It happens for a few months and then they get caught here or Kelowna or wherever they get caught and then it quiets down for awhile.”

The rewards are so good that even as RCMP lock away one thief — or even a whole crew — another is waiting to step into the game.

“It’s like when you have a drug dealer in town and you take him down,” Sgt. Bayda explained. “Another pops up to take his place.”

The local detachment, he added, caught “one fellow stealing stuff; we’ve got him in jail right now.”

But the rash of thefts continues: a motorcycle here, paddleboards there. Quads. Jetskis. Trucks. Cars. Boats.

The motive might be as simple as a joyride. Or it might be financial. They toys brought to play in the Osoyoos sandbox are generally high-end, visible and often left unattended.

Although there’s nothing an owner can do to completely secure property, Sgt. Bayda says a little deterrence goes a long way.

“If you’ve got a dirt bike or quad, put a chain around it,” he suggested. “Make it more difficult (to steal). Even though a chain can be cut, it takes time, creates more noise. Any deterrent is better than just leaving it out in the open.”