Farmers are being encouraged to secure their property as Manitoba RCMP investigates a pair of grain thefts in the Pembina Valley.
The first report came in to authorities on June 23, 2020 where a farmer indicated about 700 bushels of grain was stolen from his yard near Cypress in the Municipality of Lorne. It is unknown when the theft took place, but police say it could have happened last winter.
Then culprits struck again this week after a farmer reported that about 50 tonnes of canola had been stolen from his yard near Kaleida. The crime is believed to have happened between September 10-18, 2020.
"A lot of these farm sites located throughout southern Manitoba where farmers store their grain are unoccupied, so it could be a number of bins with no residences or people nearby, so depending on how often they frequent their properties the suspects do have time to basically enter, there will usually be an auger on-site already and so they hook up and go," explained Sgt. Paul Manaigre.
While RCMP continues to investigate, Sgt. Manaigre says it is possible that these two thefts are related but noted no official connection has been made as of yet.
"It's obviously somebody that's familiar with farming, knows where to take the grain," he added, "they probably have some equipment and farms themselves but just not a large operation, so they're trying to supplement their own income with everyone doing the work for them. So they're just picking it up and taking it to an elevator."
Sgt. Manaigre urges farmers to keep samples of the grain that is in their bins, noting RCMP can compare them to samples taken at the elevator in order to help solve crimes like this. He noted a case of stolen grain was solved out of Killarney not long ago thanks to this strategy.
"Whoever is stealing this grain is delivering it for the money, so now it's making the connection of where did it come from?," he said, "chances are there could be quite a few farmers out there right now that might not even be aware they're a victim of theft."
While he isn't sure how feasible it, Sgt. Manaigre suggests locking up the property where bins are situated, essentially making the valuable product inside them less accessible to thieves. With trucks moving in and out of farm yards to collect grain from the bins, Sgt. Manaigre also suggests that neighbours become familiar with each other in order to spot someone or something that doesn't belong.
Anyone with information on either of these thefts please call Carman RCMP at 204-745-6760 or Morden RCMP at 204-822-4476, or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, or secure tip online at www.manitobacrimestoppers.com.Click here to see more...