BY BILL PHILLIPS
It takes effort to break into a locked steel box.
And yet, that’s exactly what some thieves have been doing in Prince George. And it’s bad enough that thieves are stealing items, but when those items are for charity, it’s even worse.
PG Recycling and Return-It Centre has several steel drop-off boxes around the city where residents can beat the line-up at the bottle depot and simply drop off their cans and bottles. The refund money is then collected and given to charity.
Thieves have managed to break into those locked containers, likely using bolt cutters to hack through the big locks, and steal the pop cans and beer bottles inside.
“We had a fair bit of a problem with it last year,” said Ken Ziemer, PG Recycling and Return-It Centre manager. “At times, it happens every two weeks or so.”
Ziemer got better locks for the bins and that helped, for a while. At the latest break-in, at the Fifth and Ahbau location, thieves got through one of the better locks.
“It was definitely bolt-cutters that were used,” said Ziemer.
Thankfully the bin wasn’t damaged. It’s a lot easier to replace a lock than a steel bin.
The bins are simply a way for the centre to help out in the community.
“People can donate their bottles and the money goes to various charities throughout the community,” said Ziemer. “We change it every couple of months to support more charities.”
Right now the fundraising is support Team Nora, raising money for cystic fibrosis research, the the centre has also supported the Relay for Life, SPCA, Humane Society, Big Brothers and Big Sisters among others.
Their most recent donation was $2,000 to Relay for Life.
They put a poll on Hell Yeah Prince George asking who they want to support.
Bins are located at Canadian Tire, SPCA, CN Centre, the Northern Light Estate Winery, Fifth and Ahbau Plaza and at the PG Recycling Return-It Centre on Peterson Road.
There really isn’t much the centre can do to stop the thieves, other than trying to make the bins more secure.
“We just ask the public to keep an eye on the bins,” said Zeimer. “If they see something suspicious where it looks like someone is trying to break in, let us know.”