Robbery victimwarns others to be watchful
Ready formore action
Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot resident James Cuin says he found out the hard way what it’s like to have his security invaded, his belongings stolen and his peace of mind compromised.
And he hopes others can learn from the experience.
Cuin, who retired early form a job at CP Rail due to a heart condition, believes he as his wifeMicheline’s trouble began last fall while he was planning a hospital stay to have a pacemaker/defibrillator replaced in his body.
“My wife and I concluded it would be a good idea to have a (high definition) TV box installed in the master bedroom,” before the surgery, he explained, adding “This would give me a chance to watch my favourite programs during rehabilitation without (going) up and down the stairs.”
The couple, who have been married 43 years, contacted a cable company to upgrade the digital receiver in their bedroom to a high definition box.
Cuin, who did not identify the company, says two men showed up to install the equipment lastOctober.
A recent spate of robberies in homes has at least one Vaudreuil-Soulanges resident wondering if police and those being targeted are doing all they can to prevent the robberies.
Though he cannot prove it, he now believes the incidentwas suspicious.
“They advised us they were subcontractors,” he explained, adding, “I was a little concerned that they were two, but I got the impression that one of them was training and I did not give it a second thought.”
Since his wife was cooking supper at the time, Cuin showed the men to the master bedroom.
He said one technician advised him they were having problemswith theirwork.
“He asked me to show him where the main cable entrancewas. (He said) his partner would continue to setup the receiver in our room.”
According to Cuin, one worker was left alone in the bedroomfor about 10minutes.
“In the excitement of getting (the new system,) I overlooked the fact that the other technician remained alone inmy bedroom,” he said.
The same room, he noted, where the couple kept a heavy safe containing heirloom jewels, passports andmore.
“Never in 15 years has someone other than ourselves been in our room and the small circle of friends we have never knew we had a safe.”
Complicating things further, a different technician returned to the home the next day as thework had not been completed the previous day.
A little more than a month later, after a short dinner out one Sunday night, the couple returned home to discover their house had been burglarized.
And that the 250 pounds safe in their bedroomcloset had been stolen.
The safe contained approximately $35,000 in jewellery, which Cuin says his wife had inherited from her mother, plus jewellery purchased together during 43 years ofmarriage.
Gone also were passports, insurance papers, house ownership papers and more. “Our life was in that safe...It has been a nightmare trying to put all this together again,” Cuin noted.
Cuin says it took two movers equipped with heavy straps to get the safe to the bedroomwhen the couplemoved to NDIP 15 years ago.
“This was not something that could be taken on awhim.”
SQ police detectives responded to the call three hours later, according toCuin, as there had been another emergency in the region that night.
He says a detective assigned to the case later said his file was not a high priority as no one had been hurt during the robbery.
Though Cuin wonders if there is a connection with the workers, police say suspicion alone is not enough reason to question someone.
SQ Sgt. Bruno Beaulieu noted that police must have specific proof in order to question any individual believed to be involved in a crime.
Beaulieu said police have not noticed an increase in crimes or robberies following service calls.
But people should nevertheless call police if they feel unsafe in any situation, he added.
“If you feel suspicious about a person, or unsafe for any reason you should always call police. It’s our job to check things out even if it turns out to be nothing,” noted Beaulieu.
Homeowners can also ask for identification and call the main service provider when dealing with subcontractors if they feel unsure.
“You can just verify if the person has indeed been sent to your home by the company.”
ButCuinwould like to see companies that use subcontractors take it further and do background checks on all people connected with a company. He says he’s been speaking with the company he dealt with to get such answers, which are not forthcoming.
“I tried to get names from the company, but they refused to give them to me,” he said.
For now, the couple has just returned to their home after vacating it while workers repaired damage inflicted to walls, doors and flooring during the robbery.
“I wanted tomake things look and feel as normal as possible formywife,” Cuin said.
He added that the experience shook her up a great deal.
And the homeowner said he plans to speak with town officials to see ifmore can be done to ensure residents’ safety.
He also plans to speak with those living in his immediate neighbourhood about looking out for each other.
Robbers gained entry to the home through a side door.
James Cuin and his wifeMicheline.