Cedar Farmers Market is reeling from the loss of equipment stolen from the non-profit’s storage container.
Katie Poirier, executive director of the not-for-profit organization, said in correspondence with the News Bulletin that she discovered the shipping container had been broken into at about 6:30 a.m. Sunday, July 3, but figured the theft happened sometime during the week prior. The culprits had used a grind to cut the locks, removed anything of value from the container and then put the lock mechanism back together to make it appear as if nothing was amiss.
Poirier estimates about $6,000 in electrical and sound equipment was taken, including power distribution units for market vendors to plug into, dollies, power cables, speakers, heaters and other equipment. She is still trying to complete a list of everything that was stolen.
Poirier also learned Monday, July 4, that the market’s insurance company will not cover the loss.
“So, we got a secondary shock this morning when we found out our insurance will not cover any of this,” she said.
The market has operated on summer weekends on the grounds of Woodbank Elementary School in Cedar for the past several years.
Poirier said the school is being painted and neighbours have told her there have been a number of extra on-site workers and strange noises on the property.
So far, police don’t have much to go on to further the investigation.
“No suspects, no witnesses,” said reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman.
Poirier said this is the first major theft the organization has been hit with.
“We have had repeated vandalism at this site,” she said. “Always from what appears to be kids. They have been caught a few times. Toilets tipped over, graffiti, etc. This is the largest incident and the first time it appears to be adults [or] professionals.”
To try to recover the loss, Poirier has set up a GoFundMe page to ask for the community’s help to replace the equipment and upgrade security at the site.
“I should be spending this week raising money for our free food program, organizing my arts program … organizing our cooking demonstration on July 24. That’s what I planned for this week,” Poirier said. “Now, I’m further behind on the beautiful projects that serve the community. I’m writing police reports and canvassing businesses for donations. I really see the beauty in all of this support, but we really have amazing things to contribute to society that we can’t work on because of this.”
To make a donation to help replace the market’s equipment, visit http://gofund.me/7398ca7f.
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and quote file No. 2022-22780.