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'They did a lot of damage': Riverview Boys and Girls Club vehicles vandalized

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The staff at Boys and Girls Club (BGC) in Riverview, N.B., have been scrambling all week long after it was discovered all three of their vehicles were vandalized over the weekend.

BGC Riverview executive director Lynda Carey said they noticed Monday morning that all three vehicles had been broken into.

The back handle on a 20-passenger bus has been damaged and the front lock on the 12-person van was punched out. Both are still operable.

The other 12-person van was heavily damaged and needed to be towed to a dealership in Moncton for extensive repairs.

“They punched out the lock in the door to gain access. They tore the undercarriage of the dash under the steering wheel right off and they completely tore out the ignition on the column. We can’t even get a key into it or make it work at all,” said Carey.

The timing couldn’t be worse.

March break is next week and several day trips have been planned.

Carey said they need all three vehicles to transport 60 children in the daycare on a daily basis and not having all three on the road is a huge inconvenience.

“It’s going to slow things down a bit. It’s not going to stop us. It’s not going to deter us from doing the things we have planned, but it’s going to slow things up for sure,” she said.

The vehicle with the most damage is at MacDonald Buick GMC Cadillac.

Service advisor Christian Johnston said parts have been ordered, but it could be next week before the van is back on the road.

Johnston called the break-in a “hack job” and said the repair will be a difficult one.

“Basically, somebody attempted to steal the vehicle and was not very careful in the way that they did it. They did a lot of damage. They pried off coverings. They broke the ignition interlock. So, there’s basically teeth to the tumblers of the ignition jammed down inside of it, so we’re going to have to drill that out to get to it,” said Johnston. “It’s just a lot of damage for someone who did a rough job trying to steal the vehicle.”

Johnston said they support the club and have a good partnership with them so they will get a deal on the work.

“It’s still going to be around two grand, almost,” said Johnston. “It’s going to be a time-consuming job.”

Carey said plan B is for the staff to make numerous pickups and drop offs as opposed to one trip for now until the van is ready.

It’s also possible staff will have to use their own vehicles to transport children next week, but Carey hopes it doesn’t come to that.

This isn’t the first time BGC Riverview has been the target of vandalism.

Last year someone crawled under the bus, cut a hole in the gas tank and drained the fuel out of it.

“That was another nightmare for us,” said Carey.

BGC Riverview Program Director Matt Hayes said they have trips planned every day during March break, not only for the after school program, but also for the drop-in program that they run.

“This means that with our four drivers that we have we’re going to be shuttling kids to get to where they need to go. We’ll make it happen. It just means double duty for our drivers,” said Hayes.

Hayes said the vandalism is obviously a financial set back for the club that is already on a tight budget.

“Speaking on behalf of non-profits, yes, it is a struggle nowadays. This is not just us, it’s happening all over and it’s sad to see,” said Hayes.

Carey said the RCMP are investigating.

“The police have been very empathetic. Very kind,” said Carey.

Sgt. Nick Arbour of the Codiac RCMP said the incident is under investigation and they are seeking the public’s help with any information they may have.

Arbour offered up some general tips to residents to possibly prevent break-ins and to protect their vehicles.

“We’re asking people to of course lock their doors and never leave the leave the keys in your vehicle. Keep your valuables out of sight, in the trunk if they have no other choice. Of course, don’t leave any money or change in the vehicle. Park your vehicle in a garage or a well-lit area. If people do see something suspicious in the neighbourhood, or somebody going house to house checking vehicles please call the local police,” said Arbour.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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