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Break-ins force Timmins business to reassess its inventory

The owner of O'Reilly Source for Sports in Timmins said his place of business has been the target of break-ins over the past seven years he's been an owner, forcing him to make a change to reduce the potential for any more financial loss.

Reilly Heffernan said he does not blame mayor or police for the level of crime he's had to deal with as business owner, but he's frustrated with the leniency of the justice system and he wants to share his experience with the public with hope that the government will hear him and other business owners like him.

"I guess my heart’s hardened over it; I just see it as a cost of doing business now which is ridiculous; it shouldn’t be just accepting you have this happen to you," said Heffernan.

Heffernan said he's honestly lost count, but he said his store has been targeted by thieves at least nine or ten times. He said with the bars he installed on the front windows, perpetrators have come through the floor and the wall.

Heffernan would like to see the justice system change and that repeat offenders "should be jailed." he said.

"It's that simple; I think that's just common sense.”

"Instead of looking at the common case law, look at common sense and start protecting the community – that's the government's job: to protect the nation."

According to various news releases from the Timmins Police Service issued since Feb. 12 there have been approximately six arrests made for thefts at businesses; one arrest of a panhandler for assaulting someone who didn't want to offer any money; one arrest of a man assaulting someone while trying to get away without paying at pharmacy; and there is still an unsolved theft of equipment from the Schumacher Fire Hall.

“These are not sophisticated types of crimes, they’re more of a random break-in sort of thing; they leave evidence behind," said the communications co-ordinator for Timmins police, Marc Depatie.

Among the six arrests made for thefts at businesses includes the arrests of two men for the series of break-ins at McDonald's Pharmacy in South Porcupine between January and February.

"There’s also excellent use of closed circuit television which is a godsend for policing,” said Depatie.

"It really does help us determine a timeline, a description, a method of operation of theses criminals so it’s highly useful to the police.”

Heffernan said police do an excellent job, "they're doing everything within their resources to handle these situations." But he said in the meantime, he's felt he's had to come up with his own plan to deter thieves and he's made the decision to stop selling clothing.

"It seems as though apparel is a big attraction for shoplifting so we’re just going to stop selling it so where we’ve offered premium brands in the past we’re just getting out of it,” said Heffernan.

“We’re just going to focus on hard goods that are large in size, that are hard to stuff up jackets, so we’re going to lose a whole category of items that we’re going to offer to the community.”

He also told CTV News that due to a couple of expensive insurance claims he's had to make, that's resulted in his premiums going up by 50% over the last three years; he's now paying more than $900 a month for the business’ insurance.

Heffernan ended his interview with CTV News with a message to the people who break-in and steal from business owners:

"There’s jobs out there, there’s help out there, there’s churches out there that are willing to feed you. There’s community based organizations that want to help.

You have to want the help; you have to realize that you’re living on the street as a result of not being a victim but as a result of the series of decisions you’ve made in your life and no body’s to blame for that except yourself so until you’ve come to that realization, life’s not going to get better for you.

You gotta realize that you’re the problem, you’re the common denominator in your life being the way it is and once you’ve come to that conclusion, then you can seek to higher power to help you.

I think that’s what they need. I think they need to have a sense of knowing that people want to help, but also they need to have that sense of needing to want to be helped.” – Reilly Heffernan Top Stories

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