Although Gerry Jackson owner of Cochrane NAPA Auto Parts was happy to have a couple of days off over the holidays with family, he was not thrilled to learn his business had been robbed over the Christmas break.
Sometime between December 23rd and the afternoon of the 26th, Jackson states thieves broke into their battery storage units and stole upwards $4000 to $5000 in scrap battery cores. "I am presuming it happened over Christmas Eve or Christmas Day when there is not as much traffic, I am thinking at least two people pulled up to the side of the building up by my back door and cut the locks off of two different steel cages that are hidden behind."
With the storage units not in plain sight and obstructed by their delivery van, Jackson says the thieves still managed to walk away with numerous batteries. "It leads me to believe it was probably local. With limited space to open the doors, they proceeded to load up somewhere between 120 and 150 battery cores which are worth on average about $15 each and also 12 warranty batteries that were worth $1500."
This is unfortunately not the first time the local business owner has been hit; in fact, in his 15/16 year history, Jackson shares he has been a victim of theft numerous times. "This isn't the first time I have had batteries stolen or the first time I have had other theft done, throughout my time here this is close to the tenth time that I have been hit and each time anywhere between $3000 and $6000, never enough to be worthy of an insurance claim so it comes directly out of the hip pocket."
Employing eight local men and supporting as many community events and organizations as possible, the hit takes a big toll. "I absolutely beat myself up when a minor hockey team, the Humane Society, the Cochrane Classic Car Club or whatever it may be, comes in looking for some kind of a handout for a fundraising event and when I have to say, no, it bothers me immensely. I have always been community-minded and I strive to give back as much as possible. I employee eight guys here, put a roof over their heads and allow them to have a decent family life and then guys come around and do this to me...it's disheartening, disappointing, and frustrating."
Jackson does try to mitigate theft as the best he can and while he normally has surveillance cameras recording data, a malfunction left him empty-handed. "Unfortunately the hard drive on my camera system malfunctioned and didn't get anything recorded. My camera guy was just here two months ago doing some work and it was working fine but sometime within that two month period the date reverted back to 2000 and it didn't recognize the activity so nothing got recorded."
Thinking the thieves were on site at NAPA for at least a half hour to upwards an hour while they loaded the batteries into most likely a cube van or trailer, he is hoping someone from the community may have seen something suspicious.
Many times the batteries will be cleaned up and resold on buy and sell sites or Kijii where unfortunately the buyer will be left out of pocket as well. "They basically revive them and make them appear like they're a worthwhile battery to purchase for a cheap price, but in most cases, they'll only last a day, a week, or a month at the most."
If you have any information about the theft or see any ads selling a bulk amount of batteries, contact the Cochrane detachment at 403-851-8000 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.