Residents need to report suspicious night traffic on roads, meeting told

MINDEMOYA—Residents in the area of Burpee-Mills should call police if they see suspicious vehicles late at night with occupants checking for items left out in the open to steal. That was the message provided by an OPP representative at a recent meeting on the Island.

“I presented a letter from council to (Ontario Provincial Police) Staff Sergeant (Kevin) Webb because I’ve been checking our (Burpee-Mills) record for calls for services and we are getting a different story from some of the seniors in our township,” Wayne Bailey, a Burpee-Mills councillor told members of the Manitoulin Community Policing Advisory Committee (MCPAC) at a meeting earlier this month. “They are not reporting incidents that are taking place in the township. They are passing on their concerns to council but they should be calling the police.”

Mr. Bailey explained, “over the last year a number of younger people have come back to settle in Burpee-Mills. They arrive with small stock buildings or old trailers and draw friends in with them, and during the day there is no problem.”

However, at night “after 12 midnight there have been reports of their cruising roads in an old truck with a spotlight on top, looking at properties and what they can take, like gas cans etc.,” said Mr. Bailey. “I had one drive up my driveway with no headlights on, you couldn’t even tell they were they were there until the dog started to bark,” said Mr. Bailey. “By the time I went outside, whoever it was was gone. But you can hear the vehicle on the pavement on the road.”
“In another incident by Obejewung Park they were cruising at about 3 am when a gentleman had got up to go the bathroom and saw a vehicle outside with a spotlight shining on cottages,” said Mr. Bailey. “The word has gotten out among some of the older people in the township who are very nervous about all of this.”

“And I’ve heard neighbours and other people talking about the same type of experiences,” continued Mr. Bailey. “Our council has requested Staff Sergeant Webb to have a couple of his officer’s meet with council to see what can be done, and then follow up at a meeting with those concerned.” He noted the perpetrators, “seemed to have started at Union Road when items started to go missing, and now they are also driving on the Burpee flats and the back roads of the western end, basically any road off Highway 540 to see what is available in peoples’ yards they can pick up.” He pointed out one of the items that is being picked up is fuel cans–anything that is left out and can be picked up easily.

“Is it a group of people that are doing this?” asked Hugh Moggy.

Mr. Bailey said the group probably includes as many as five young people.
“First, we have officers out and around at that time of night, and we can do some patrols of the areas,” said Staff Sergeant Webb. “It would be nice to have an indication of who it is that may be causing the disturbance. I’ll talk to our officers and get patrols out there and we can have someone speak to council first on what can be done.”

“The thing is we need people to report these incidents, to make the call to the OPP when they see something driving around late at night checking out properties,” said Staff Sergeant Webb. “Even if we have an officer in Gore Bay, if they receive a report they can be there within 10 minutes or so to check things out. People need to report these incidents.”

Staff Sergeant Webb noted that calls for service such as the incidents Mr. Bailey brought forward, “has minimal impact on costs (to the municipality-community involved). But regardless, we need people to call us. If there is anything people see that is suspicious we will respond.”

“I will definitely get this message out,” said Staff Sergeant Webb, “and will have an officer visit council to talk about this issue, and maybe a town hall meeting can be held where an officer can do a presentation on what people need to do.”

Mr. Bailey told the Recorder earlier this week, “the Manitoulin OPP want to have two of their officers  meet with our council in the near future. Together we can set up a plan as to what should be done with the guidance of the officers.”