Community members in Heffley Creek refused to stand idle and watch another neighborhood fixture be vandalized.
Residents say they have grown tired of petty crimes putting small businesses at risk of closing and have organized the Heffley Creek Store Appreciation & Fundraising Dinner Event to help the store with repair and replacement costs.
Secretary-treasurer and event coordinator of Heffley Creek Community Hall Deb McDougall-Bergstrand says she feels happy to help out the store that has benevolently served so many in the community for over a century.
“I’m advertising it as a Heffley Creek Store Appreciation and Fundraiser Dinner Event because if we can raise money, great, and I think we will, but it’s more about coming together as a community and helping out this business that is always helping Heffley out,” she said.
Just after 4 a.m. on July 3, RCMP responded to a store alarm that had gone off around the 7000 block on the Yellowhead Highway. When they arrived, they discovered the Heffley Creek storefront entrance smashed. In around four minutes, the assailants made off with $12,000 in stolen merchandise items, including cigarettes, while creating additional damages and clean-up costs.
McDougall-Bergstand says store owners Trent and Cheralyn do not live in Heffley. However, she has had a lot of locals buying tickets.
“I put out several calls for donations from locals and even Sun Peaks businesses because everyone stops at the store for snacks and gas on the way up. I thought, let’s come together…We can donate some money to the store and show that we support them,” she said.
The store had just updated its cameras the year before, allowing them to record a high-quality video of the crime, shown through numerous security camera angles. Video surveillance captured footage of a white truck with a boat rack on top, a man with a baseball cap covering his brown hair and wearing flips flops, and a woman with long dark hair with a slim build dressed in black. The pair reportedly fled northbound on the highway.
McDougall says the community already tries to watch out for each other but is planning on floating the idea of establishing a block watch and implementing signage around the neighbourhood to help detour thieves. She says they have also had some unsuccessful attempted break-ins at the hall.
“There seems to be a really big spike in crime in that area for whatever reason,” she said. “So even though it’s rural … this is people driving in the community, casing out lots. It’s a small community, but it seems that everyone really does support each other.”
The Heffley Creek Store Appreciation & Fundraising Dinner Event will take place at the Heffley Creek Hall on August 12 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. You can get your tickets by contacting Deb McDougall-Bergstrand on Facebook or by calling 250-578-7525. You can also do so by clicking here to buy them online.
Attendees can expect a homemade roast beef dinner with local ingredients, from Rangeland Meats and Craig’s Bakery, music, raffles, and a silent auction where all the proceeds raised will go to the Heffley Creek Store. Adult admission is $20, senior and student admission is $15, and admission for children under 12 is $10.
Police are still searching for any information people may have related to a break-and-enter, and anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to contact the Kamloops RCMP Detachment at 250-828-3000.
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