Roof break-in leaves Okanagan business owner frustrated – Okanagan

The owner of a used-car dealership says he’s dealt with a handful of thefts and criminal offences at his Kelowna business during the past year.

This past weekend, though, a break-in at Patton Motorcars left Jeff Patton stunned.

“I didn’t know that was possible, to be honest,” Patton said of how the culprit got inside.

“I actually wasn’t surprised that he broke into our shop; I was surprised at how he did it.”

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Crime rate in Kelowna still high

It was early Sunday when a man broke into the dealership through the building’s roof.

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He managed to somehow get on top of the building, gain access through the roof and take off a ceiling panel.

“It’s just this big square hole that’s just covered by sheet metal,” Patton said. “I think maybe a big air conditioning unit or something was on there in the past.”

The break-in was caught on surveillance footage, which shows the man crashing onto the floor, then starting to rummage through the business.

The suspect’s actions even surprised the police.

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“That’s the first one I’ve seen in a while. And it’s surprising how that he didn’t injure himself with that fall; he literally fell through the roof,” said Const. Mike Della-Paolera.

Patton said the man came in the day before, and suspicions were immediately raised as he seemed more interested in looking around the showroom, scoping it out, rather than eyeing the cars inside that are for sale.

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“Super suspicious because he wasn’t really looking at our vehicles,” Patton said.

“He was more or less looking at the walls and the ceiling and kind of the perimeters and things … just kind of looking around.”

So when police called him the next day after finding a stolen vehicle not far from the dealership, Patton thought right away it was the same person.

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Businesses raising concerns over crime in downtown Kelowna

Patton asked police to check on the dealership. When they arrived, the suspect was still inside the business.

The man was arrested and taken into custody, with police calling him a repeat offender.

“He has a pretty extensive police record, but he’s new to the Kelowna area, so we haven’t dealt with him that I’m aware of,” said Della-Paolera.

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“But he has had police interactions in the Lower Mainland and other provinces.”

According to the surveillance footage, the suspect was in and out of the business for hours before police arrived.

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In total, three vehicles were stolen, along with tools, car scanners, documents and 50 sets of keys to the vehicles on the lot and in the showroom.

Fortunately, everything has since been recovered.

“He had all sets of 50 keys for all our vehicles in there as well, which is scary because that would have been catastrophic. We probably would have had to close our business,” Patton said.

“A lot of our stuff is European, so literally they have to go to Germany and places to get those keys cut and replaced. So I don’t even know what would have happened.”

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Patton is frustrated at regularly having to file insurance claims for some kind of offence or theft at his business.

“We’re taxpayers. We’re paying thousands of dollars a month on insurance,” he said.

“We’re paying, we’re doing our due diligence to try and run a small business and it seems like it’s almost not even worth it.”

Patton is now beefing up security to prevent another break-in before he reaches a breaking point.

“I was born and raised in Kelowna. My kids are growing up here. I want to stay here,” he said.

“But at the end of the day, it’s kind of like, ‘Is this worth it?’”

The suspect is now facing multiple charges.

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