Joan Septembre went for a weekend hike at Lindeman Lake, parking next to a vehicle that had two windows smashed in. (submitted photo)

Thieves active at Lindeman Lake and other parking spots along Chilliwack Lake Road

The hiking community is lamenting an uptick in car theft and vandalism as the weather gets nicer

You head out to the forest and come back to a car with a smashed-in window.

A horrible feeling, and one that’s become all too common at some of Chilliwack’s nature destinations. Joan Septembre went for a hike at Lindeman Lake Saturday. As she pulled into her parking spot, she noticed the car next to her had two windows busted out.

“I’m guessing the owners had camped overnight,” she said.

She snapped a couple pictures of the damage and carried on into the woods, thinking about the anguish those people will feel when they get back to their vandalized car.

“In the hiking community the Lindeman Lake parking lot, Pierce Lake parking lot, and probably others as well along that road (Chilliwack Lake Road) are becoming notorious for smashed windows on vehicles, break-ins, and even tires being stolen right off the vehicles,” Septembre noted.

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On a recent excursion to Upper Pierce Lake, which is a full-day adventure, Septembre was afraid she might come down after dark and find her car had been damaged. She said she took everything out, left the doors unlocked, and put a note on the front seat stating that the doors were unlocked and there were no valuables.”

Some hikers, she said, are avoiding the area altogether, even though they love it. Others have someone drop them off, and pick them up later.

“Some are talking about getting a camera out there for surveillance,” she said. “Or having a pay parking lot where you could leave your car and have someone there looking after the lot for you.”

This isn’t a new issue. Similar complaints have circulated for years, and she finds it frustrating that nothing has been done about it. About a year ago, she said talk came up in a local hiking forum about doing some kind of ‘sting’ operation.

“But as far as I know it’s just been talk so far,” she said.

RCMP spokesperson Mike Rail said any sort of vigilantism is discouraged. Instead, he encouraged people to report acts of vandalism and theft to the police.

He said RCMP cruisers run ‘proactive patrols’ on Chilliwack Lake Road all the way to the lake, but as the weather turns nicer and parking lots get packed, thieves need only a moment to take advantage.

“It’s a crime of opportunity anywhere that vehicles congregate,” he noted. “Bridal Falls can be another one, and our best advice is to keep your vehicle locked and keep your articles out of sight. Don’t leave wallets and cell phones and other items in your vehicle. Protect your property from being stolen.”


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eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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