The Montreal office of the Grand Council of the Crees suffered two burglaries in less than a week last May. According to police and the Grand Council office manager Elaine Harrison-Awashish, the break-ins don’t appear to be politically motivated.
MUC Police reports say the first break-in took place on the evening of May 5 between 10 pm and 11:37pm. The front door was broken to enable the person or persons to access the offices. Three computers (a laptop and two desktops) were stolen. But there was no “mischief on the scene,” the police report notes.
The thief simply grabbed computers that were visible and could quickly be taken said police. There was evidence that the other offices were checked over but the CPU’s were not out in the open. Apparently, the thief had disconnected the alarm system that was installed as no alarm went off.
Office staff say they did feel a frustrated and angry. They rallied together and made do with what they could, sharing computers.
The second break-in took place over the night of May 11. This time there was no trace of a break and entry, according to police. Apparently the lock had been picked or the thief had a key. Again the alarm system had been disconnected. Within the offices, one of the windows had been broken to gain access. And once again, three computers (a laptop and two CPU’s) were stolen, including a very old laptop on the brink of succumbing to old age that had given to one person who had a computer stolen from the first break-in.
The offices were not ransacked and all that was stolen was the small portable CPU’s and laptops. These can easily fit in a sports bag, leading police to believe that whoever committed the crime was looking for some quick cash. Three CPU’s can be sold for over $1,000. The police do not have any suspects at this point but they did say that the second break-in could have been someone who had worked there in the past or someone who had access to keys as there was no sign of forcible entry. “It’s hard to say at this point. We’ve got investigators on the job for sure though,” says Ian LaFreniere of the MUC Police.
After the second break-in, an emergency meeting was held with the Cree Construction and Development Company and high-tech security measures were put in place. Said Harrison-Awashish: “We don’t foresee anyone being able to get in here without getting caught. The Grand Chief wanted to ensure that everything was done to secure the office, particularly for the safety of the employees. He was very supportive and wanted to ensure that all of this was enacted immediately.”