A rash of break-ins and thefts on the grounds of the Ukrainian Safe Haven in East Sooke is costing thousands and complicating refugees’ efforts to settle here.
Since mid-May, the non-profit group and volunteers have had at least three break-ins and vandalism incidents.
“It’s going to cost an enormous amount of money and time to repair all of this, and we have Ukrainians coming every week now,” said Brian Holowaychuk, who created the 33-hectare Ukrainian Safe Haven with his wife, Sharon, at the former Grouse Nest property on Gillespie Road earlier this year
On May 15, thieves broke into a shop, stole $2,000 worth of tools, came back a week later and broke into a vacant shed.
The significant theft occurred overnight on June 2 when copper wire worth thousands of dollars was stolen. Additionally, thieves destroyed panels in two A-frame cabins under renovation, street lighting, and 100 metres of cable from the water system, causing the water supply to be disrupted for two days.
Holowaychuk believes the thieves accessed the property at the nearby Roche Cove Regional Park parking lot.
A few clues might help identify the thieves, including surveillance video of a dark shadow of a man and a distinctive yellow wheelbarrow left behind with a blue shovel.
The incidents have been reported to Sooke RCMP.
The cost and delays are seriously impacting Ukrainian Safe Haven operations, Holowaychuk said, putting the project behind schedule.
“It bothers me tremendously. I needed this time to plan for the next phase – building a campground. It’s a very important piece,” he said.
Holowaychuk is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information can contact Sooke RCMP at 250-642-5241 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.