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A large number of tools, mostly in carrying cases, are displayed inside a commercial garage space.

Tip helps police recover hundreds of stolen tools

The stolen tools nearly filled an entire garage bay at the RCMP detachment. Credit: RCMP


After a string of tool thefts in Manitoba, a tip from the public put a wrench in the culprit's plans. The information led RCMP officers to a property in Winnipeg where they found hundreds of stolen items valued at more than $80,000.

"The number of tools recovered definitely stands out," says RCMP Sgt. Chris Lambert. "They filled up almost an entire garage bay."

Now, the culprit is facing charges and police are working to get the equipment back in the hands of the rightful owners. Nearly $40,000 worth have already been returned.

Missing your tools

When the Manitoba RCMP shared news of the recovery on social media, it quickly spread through the local news. Soon, the Red River North RCMP detachment was flooded with calls.

Lambert says in most cases of stolen goods, police will review previous files and scan police databases for past reports of theft when trying to return items, but, in this case, they reached out to the public due to the number of recovered items. "If these are contractors' tools, they are the bread and butter of how that contractor makes a living," says Lambert.

Cst. Yuriy Umans'ky sorted and categorized each of the stolen tools and says many were high-end brands preferred by construction companies and contractors. "I worked in construction before joining the RCMP and know that the brands are some of the most expensive tools," says Umans'ky. He says the owners have been very happy to get their items back, especially the more costly tools such as speciality rebar cutters and laser levels.

Useful tips

Lambert says the case also serves as a reminder for owners to take note of serial numbers and other identifiable characteristics on big-ticket items. That way, if it's stolen and recovered by police, having the serial number is the easiest way to establish ownership and get the item back. While putting identifiable markings on items can be a good idea, things like stickers or permanent marker can easily be removed by thieves.

Small steps such as not leaving tools at work sites and locking tools inside a building can reduce the risk of theft. If tools are secured in a vehicle, parking in a well-lit area and arming the car alarm can also prevent thefts.

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