Screengrab from surveillance footage at Awatin Aboriginal Art, early on Friday, July 19, 2019.

VIDEO: Break-in third this year at Indigenous art stores in Campbell River

Awatin Aboriginal Arts robbed for second time in 2019; Wei Wai Kum House of Treasures robbed in June

A police officer dusted for prints on Friday morning following the latest break-in at an Indigenous arts store in downtown Campbell River.

Someone smashed the front door of Awatin Aboriginal Arts and entered the store at 2:28 a.m. early Friday morning, according to surveillance footage. The video shows someone wearing a hooded sweater trying to break into a cabinet.

“He broke in here with a brick and then came in the store, and he was trying to kick that cabinet to break into it,” said Ernie Smith, co-owner of the store.

The suspect, who appears to be wearing a mask, placed jewelry into a garbage bag and fled about one minute after entering the store.

A police officer gathers evidence following a break-in at Awatin Aboriginal Art in Campbell River on July 19, 2019. Photo by David Gordon Koch/Campbell River Mirror

Awatin Aboriginal Arts was previously robbed in February, with lost goods and damages worth more than $2,000, Smith said. A traditional cedar hat was among the items lost in that incident.

READ MORE: ‘Priceless’ hat stolen from Indigenous art store in Campbell River during break-in

READ MORE: First Nations carvings stolen during break-and-enter at downtown Campbell River office

The Wei Wai Kum House of Treasure, another Indigenous arts store located in downtown Campbell River, reported a break-in just last month. In a Facebook post on June 16, the House of Treasure said it was broken into that morning.

“If you hear of anyone selling gold, or silver with gold jewellery, let us know,” the post said. “Also silver chains and gold chains.”

Two Indigenous carvings were previously stolen in a late-night smash-and-grab on January 14 at a downtown accounting firm, including a Bear Dancer carving by Quadra Island-based artist Michael Price. A small eagle mask by an unknown artist was also stolen.


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