The destroyed sofa inside the cabin. (Submitted photo)

Break-in at two cabins near Ootsa Lake

Vandals destroyed property, stole personal effects upwards of $1000

When Rick MacDougall ventured into his cabin on April 27, he had no idea what he was walking into. What had served him as a place of refuge, a place he would go to, to get away from the chaos of everyday, was broken-into on April 24. His immediate reaction looking at the mess was anger but as he started to put things back in place, he realized that there were several things missing from his cabin.

“Everything they stole was of absolutely, totally sentimental value – it wasn’t worth anything to anybody other than me,” said MacDougall. MacDougall, who used to hunt, had his hunting gear stolen, his hunting belt, that held several memorabilia of people close to him, and some other things stolen that were more valuable to him than anyone else. “There was something on there that my brother gave me – he is now deceased, something my son gave me – he is now deceased, something my hunting partner gave me – he passed away about a year ago, there was a knife on it that my wife gave me, my birthday about twenty years ago and I had never once taken it out of the sheath because I wanted to keep it perfect and there are things that they took that are, you know they are very hard to find.”

MacDougall has been building up the house there for the past 30 years. The two cabins that were broken into, both two-bedroom houses, were fully furnished. For him, it was a place that they would go to at least thrice a year, to get away from everyday life, from phones and crimes like these. After he was diagnosed with cancer, he hadn’t visited the cabin in two years and when the cancer came back, he decided to visit and walked into a broken into house. “I am an old man, I am dying. I finally went up there and that’s what I walked into. That’s what they have stolen. They have pretty much stolen what meant a lot to me up in that whole area.”

The police have not informed MacDougall of any leads on the case however he mentioned that they found tire tracks. MacDougall also had two sources coming up and mentioning the names of the same people within minutes but there is no proof yet. MacDougall also found an axe on the property that he believes was left behind by those who broke in. The axe, which has a very unique design, is very identifiable and he believes that if someone is able to come forward and recognize the axe, that would help in narrowing in on the suspects. He has now placed an ad announcing reward for the names of people who broke in with $500 for just the names and $1,000 for returning the goods taken. “I don’t care if he is convicted, if he goes to prison. I could care less. I just want his name so if I run into him, I could just let him know the impact that it has had on my life.”

Constable Derrick McBratney with the RCMP Burns Lake detachment who is looking in to the incident, informed that the police didn’t currently have anything that they could share with the public and assured that the investigation into the incident was still underway. He also encouraged people to come forward with any information they have or if they see any suspicious person or persons, as the police were still actively investigating into the matter.

MacDougall hopes that hearing about this incident will wake people up and would encourage them to lookout for each other and each other’s properties.

ALSO READ: Woman arrested for Burns Lake liquor store break-in

Priyanka Ketkar

Multimedia journalist


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The pumphouse door was also broken down. (Submitted photo)

The kitchen door was destroyed during the break-in. (Submitted photo)

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