Scrap-metal thieves struck the West Coast Railway Heritage Park again last week, breaking into the park and stealing the copper power cable from one of the park's heritage passenger coaches.
The park, which saw the cables on four of its cars cut and stolen in March, was struck sometime before Saturday, July 28, park president emeritus and CEO Don Evans told The Chief on Friday (Aug. 3).
Park staff discovered a hole in the park's fence on July 28 and found on Monday (July 30) that the cable had been cut, Evans said. It's estimated that repairing the damage to the car will cost between $4,000 and $5,000 — far more than the value of the cable on the scrap-metal market, Evans said.
After the break-in and theft in March, it cost the West Coast Railway Heritage Association (WCRHA) approximately $20,000 to repair the damage in time for the Thomas the Tank Engine event in June.
Since that time some security improvements have been made at the park and more are planned in response to the latest incident, Evans said. “We have three or four more things yet to be done, when we can fund them,” he said.
The incidents are frustrating for the non-profit WCRHA and the volunteers who work hard to keep the park a fun and educational place for the thousands of guests, Evans said in a statement.
“Stealing from a charitable organization and the people who donate their time and expertise is about as low as anyone could go,” he said.
Evans said donations after the fact paid for “about 25 or 30 per cent” of the cost of repairs after the March break-ins. Donations are always welcome, especially in light of the most recent incident, he said.