By Will MacPhee
Jan. 16, 2014
Ashley Mullen and her family were fast asleep on Oct. 18 at 3:30 a.m. when they were awakened suddenly by the barking of their dog. The family quickly gathered and turned on the porch lights.
As they looked out onto the road, they saw a truck driving past their house. Their dog was pointing right at it.
Concerned and approaching their vehicles, the 23-year-old girl was taken by surprise to realize her family had been robbed while they slept: $15 in bills plus some change was stolen from Brendon’s – Ashley’s father’s – vehicle.
The Mullen family contacted police to tell them of the robbery. Police insisted they’ve been given many tips on the robbers, and are currently under investigation for the cases.
This was just one of a series of car robberies happening in the eastern end of the Island.
“It was just an uneasy feeling,” Mullen said.
Brendon Mullen had his truck parked behind their house by the barn. Ashley suspects the barking of the dog scared the robbers, keeping them away from her own car in the driveway, which she had left her purse and keys in overnight.
“Thank God for the dogs.”
Mullen hasn’t heard anything from police since that morning.
These break-ins have been a repeating issue throughout the months of October and November. Multiple calls have been made to police and they are in the middle of investigation.
Cons. Diane Martin, from the Montague RCMP branch, warns Islanders to lock their vehicles when left unattended, and to also keep valuables out of sight.
“They (the robbers) tend to do this on a daily basis,” she said. “Very few cases of breaks on P.E.I. include forcefully entering a locked vehicle. Lock your doors, and you’ll be fine.”
Martin also said the main problem of car break-ins is the difficulty in pinning the crimes down on specific people.
The officer gave two brief examples: one where someone was caught for thievery from multiple vehicles.
The natural action to take would be to return the recovered money, but the nature of break-ins, especially cars, is the tendency to commit several breaks, making it impossible to match the amount of change to each individual who was stolen from. IDs on coins and bills can be tracked, but Martin confirmed that, without victim’s memorizing these numbers on their money, that plan doesn’t work.
The second example was much of the same, but with a product: police recovered a pair of sunglasses from the contents of stolen items. But without a serial number to match up via a receipt, the sunglasses could not be returned to their owner.
“It’s almost impossible to lay charges,” she said.
Mullen also noted several other people she’s talked to about break-ins have noticed a lingering scent of cigarette smoke in their vehicles, as well all share a pattern: the perpetrators travel in groups of more than one, as there is at least one person waiting for a quick getaway. These robberies have spanned most of the mid-eastern region of the Island, spanning from Stanhope to Mount Stewart areas