A woman who had all her winter tires stolen off her vehicle has been gifted a set by Fountain Tire.
On Friday, Jan. 10, Terrace RCMP received a report in the morning that a car was left tireless on wooden blocks in front of a home on the 4500 block of Scott Avenue.
“… [I] go outside and see that someone has stolen all 4 of my winter tires off my car. I am devastated. I cannot replace them. This is unreal. What did I do so wrong, is this karma?” writes Melanie Woods in a public Facebook post on Jan.10.
“What am I going to do. And I need a tow. And I’m missing a full day’s work, what is wrong with people?”
Video surveillance shows a person removing the tires around 1:15 a.m. and tossing them over the fence, later leaving on foot around 2:15 a.m.
The owner of Fountain Tire, Jaecon Aspa, says that when he saw the Facebook post, he reached out to Woods to offer his help.
“It’s a lot of money [to buy new tires]. I knew this was bad timing after Christmas and it was going to get really cold,” says Aspa, estimating that a new pair of winter tires with rims could cost over $1,000 for her car.
“I felt really bad that this happened to her, I heard from people that she’s a very nice person and trying to make it work as a single mom… It was an easy decision to help.”
The following day by 10 a.m., Aspa and his team installed brand new, studded winter tires with locks on Woods’ vehicle.
He says that Woods initially could not believe it and expressed a lot of gratitude to be able to have her vehicle back on wheels again.
He was not the only person eager to help either, pointing out that many users in the comments section were willing to raise money to purchase or donate winter tires for her.
“Yesterday was one of my top worst days ever. I cried and cried for hours. I was an emotional wreck. It is hard to explain but it was such a violation to me and my family. It is so scary,” writes Woods in a comment under her original Facebook post.
“However today is a new day and I am beyond blessed… Not only have they been robbed 8 times in the last year. He still had it in his heart to bless me. Happy tears today. You all are amazing. My faith in humanity and Terrace are at a whole new level.”
Aspa says he understands how it feels like to have tires stolen as his business has been targeted for months by thieves. So far, he’s spent $25,000 on camera surveillance and every month he catches people jumping the fence at Fountain Tire trying to carry out tires from the property.
“The camera lets me know when someone is in the yard so I can actually watch them steal and call the cops,” he explains. “They reacted so quickly last time.”
Across town, Terrace Chrysler has had approximately $50,000 in valuables damaged and stolen from their vehicle lot.
“We’ve had sporadic theft but nothing like this in the last year and a half,” says Chrysler co-owner Rod Onstein.
“Even at six o’clock in the morning, [I’ve seen people] checking all our vehicles to see if they’re unlocked… it’s constant.”
He says a few examples include tires and rims taken, windows shattered from attempted break-ins and even the theft of a customer’s vehicle. They’ve also caught people trying to siphon gasoline.
Terrace Chrysler’s most costly incident was when a recreational trailer was repeatedly broken into, resulting in $20,000 of loss. Thieves managed to carry out the fridge, the fireplace, the hot water tank, two TVs, plus all the furniture including countertops and doors.
Onstein says it’s been a very frustrating experience and finds that despite reporting it to the RCMP, the crimes continue.
“On some vehicles, I didn’t have insurance on them so that was all out of pocket,” he says. “I don’t think the police are going to do anything about it until they get pressure from the public.”
Terrace RCMP constable Crystal Evelyn confirms that Terrace has experienced an increase in property crime this past year, but having tires stolen off a vehicle is not considered a regular occurrence.
“If someone is concerned for the safety of their tires, a great preventive step might be having locking-wheel lug nuts installed,” writes Evelyn in an email to the Terrace Standard. “Parking in a well-lit area, or if you have one, a garage, can also be helpful in deterring theft.”
She adds the detachment has been promoting theft-prevention education delivering presentations and releasing suggestions for how residents can better protect their property. Most vehicle thefts can be avoided by simply locking doors and windows or removing valuables, especially wallets and purses.