A string of thefts and vandalism to RVs at dealerships in southern Saskatchewan, Canada, is leaving retailers frustrated.
The Regina Leader-Post reported that thieves have targeted RV dealerships – including outlets in Regina, Moose Jaw and Davidson – a number of times since July, removing flat panel televisions and electronics and vandalizing many high-end units.
Hans Boers of Traveland RV in Regina said Traveland’s string of incidents began in October and the most recent theft occurred Friday (Jan. 9). The break-in left damage ranging from $9,000 to $12,000.
“From the time of the break-in when the damage is done to the time that we can get the parts ordered and part numbers sorted out with the factory . . . it can take anywhere from three to four months to get the unit back in production,” he said.
Dealers are having problems fixing the damaged units because many of them are from the United States and getting parts from the companies isn’t possible because of the recession.
“Those companies are going to say, ‘Oh, we don’t stock that particular wall panel anymore, that company went bankrupt,’ ” said Terry Dieno of Terry’s RV World in Davidson. “Just imagine me trying to match the decor in these different RVs; it’s just sickening to think about.”
As a result, retailers may be unable to show off their fanciest units to possible customers when the RV buying season kicks off in February.
“A $50,000 unit, for example, may not be available to show to a customer, let alone even sell for that period of time,” added Boers. “It’s a lot of money sitting there that can’t be utilized and can’t be shown.”
Dealers in Regina and other cities say they’re working to increase security. Multiple dealerships in Moose Jaw are dealing with a similar plight, as is the staff of Terry’s RV World, which is sorting through the wreckage from a break-in Dec. 31.
Dieno said that was the second incident on his property in less than six months and between 25 and 30 units were damaged.
“They’ve smashed in walls with crowbars and everything to pry these televisions off the walls. The panels that hold the DVD players, they just smash them and cut all the wires with a side cutter – how do you fix that? It’s an absolute nightmare in cost,” said Dieno, adding his deductible is $10,000 to start with and he expects the total cost to be around $100,000.
Dieno believes the incidents are connected, but RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Carole Raymond could not confirm that.
“It could be the same little bandits going from community to community or it could be individually in that community,” she said.