A north Red Deer business is picking up the pieces – many of them -- after incredible damage was done to their property Thursday evening.
Best Buy Homes is located on the west side of Gaetz Avenue, just south of Highway 11A.
Red Deer RCMP confirms that around 6 p.m. on Thursday, they responded to a complaint of vandals at the site.
As it turns out, the culprits were three boys, one of them aged seven while the other two are 11. The boys, who cannot be charged because they are under 12, allegedly took steel pipes to four modular homes, three of which were refurbished and one which was new.
One of the homes had even been sold already, but is now likely beyond repair.
Because of the distance between the four homes and the main office, staff heard nothing and it wound up being a trucker who’d driven onto the site and saw items strewn about who went into one of the homes and caught the boys red-handed.
The two older boys ran away but were quickly apprehended and all three were eventually taken into custody.
rdnewsNOW has obtained footage of the extensive damage and it’s certainly shocking.
Best Buy salesmen Randy Willie, who’s worked for the company since 2000, still can’t believe the extent of the damage, which is estimated at over $150,000.
“We feel like we're under an onslaught here at the north end of Red Deer. We’ve had break-ins this week, TVs someone attempted to steal out of our staff lunch room, someone broke into other homes in the last couple weeks and stole AC units,” Willie told rdnewsNOW on Friday. “We have a brand new home here that has been demolished, the windows are smashed, the cabinetry, the fridges, stoves, everything is wrecked, and by children, which seems almost impossible. They dealt with every light fixture, wall panel, smashed everything they could smash and it’s four homes demolished this way.”
Willie called that the incident from Thursday appalling and said it’s time business owners took a stand.
“It’s getting to the point we feel like we’re in a ghetto here and we’re not. We’re right on Gaetz Avenue, we have a beautiful, attractive business attempting to do something valuable to the community,” he said. “We have to take a stand against this and see something happen to change our neighbourhoods.”
Perplexing for Willie also, he says, is that there’s been no visit to the site by the children’s parents or guardians. He wonders where their caregivers were and how the kids could possibly have this kind of anger and disrespect for society at such a young age.
“Under the Criminal Code of Canada, children under 12 cannot be charged for criminal offences, so this is a situation where the Youth Intervention Unit will step in and work with all parties toward a resolution using restorative justice methods,” says Constable Derek Turner. “This was a serious incident with significant impact to the business and its clients. Civil action remains an option for the business, but the RCMP role will be to work with the children, their families and the business to come to a resolution that supports all parties while teaching the children that there are consequences to their actions.”
Turner says RCMP met with the parents immediately following the incident.
“Help,” Willie pleads to those in public office, adding he’s left a message for Mayor Tara Veer inviting her to come survey the destruction. “We’re tired of just filing reports. We’d like to see some help here. We need something more to protect our businesses.”
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