Tactical unit police officers discovered a tunnel full of stolen property while investigating a backyard shed in Calgary, Canada.
Staff Sgt. David Sweeting told the Calgary Herald that officers became suspicious after the floor they were standing on in the shed felt "spongy." When authorities located a trap door they opened it, and found a tunnel that went eight feet underground and extended 30 feet into the backyard. Inside were several stolen bikes, electronics, firearms and ammunition.
"One officer (about six feet tall) could stand up in it and you could have two people pass side by side," Sweeting said. "In my 36 years (as a police officer), I’ve never seen one."
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Police said the tunnel was filled with between $65,000 and $100,000 worth of property stolen from homes in the area.
“The utility lines went through the tunnel as well,” Sweeting said. "They were (digging) it with hand tools of some type. They didn’t damage the utility lines."
In a Facebook post, the Calgary Police Service detailed the arrest of the suspected thief, 50-year-old Douglas Scott Pentland:
A District 6 operation has led to a man being charged in relation to multiple break and enter [offenses]. ...
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Charged is Douglas Scott Pentland, 50, of Calgary, with 15 counts of break and enter and one count of possession of break and enter tools. As a result of this investigation, additional break and enter [offenses] are currently under investigation in Calgary and communities south of the city, which may include the involvement of other suspects.
It is believed that the offender targeted residences by forcing entry to basement windows and by prying open overhead garage doors to release the emergency manual release mechanism.
The investigation was aided in large part by attentive neighbors and community members.
Calgary police also offered residents tips to help secure their homes:
- Securing basement windows with bars and making sure they are locked, yet accessible for escape in the event of a fire.
- Installing a home security systems with sensors for the overhead garage and man doors.
- Keeping the door between the house and garage locked, even when home.
- Securing the manual release for the overhead garage door.
Citizens are also encouraged to report any suspicious vehicles or persons not normally in the neighborhood and communicate with neighbors.
Pentland’s neighbor, Val, told the Calgary Herald that he was a good neighbor whom neighbors trust and who never harmed them in any way. She said she never suspected anything strange occurring at his home, and only realized something was wrong when she saw tactical unit officers arrive.
“You think you know your neighbors,” she said.