Within two weeks, the Inuvik Native Band has suffered two break-ins causing widespread damage to its downtown office building.
The latest break-in happened on Thursday. Staff arrived to find office doors kicked in and a locked safe forced open, ruined beyond repair. Band manager Edward Wright estimated the damage at roughly $4,000, while laptops and a camera were stolen.
Wright told Cabin Radio repairs will include all doors and doorframes being reinforced, alongside security upgrades. Windows will have bars on them and a camera and motion detection system are being installed.
Cameras were supposed to be installed on Wednesday night, prior to the second break-in, but the work was delayed, Wright said.
Two weeks earlier, thieves had targeted the finance office, making off with money from a fundraiser and rent receipts. Without disclosing the exact sum, Wright said this was a "sizable amount of money."
Wright described the dismaying effect of damage to the office, which provides services to members of the band and employs youth.
Members of the Inuvik Native Band's youth committee. Inuvik Native Band photo
"For them to see these types of actions still occurring, even though they're trying to take the positive route in being productive and earning for their needs – the overall effect is demoralizing," Wright said.
"It's quite disrespectful to the organization itself and to all of the efforts we have been putting in to rebuilding this organization and the facility."
The band moved into the building three years ago. The band office provides services to 630 members with core funding from the federal government, supplemented by fundraising and proposal writing.
The break-in forces the office to pull money from other areas to deal with the effects, Wright said. "All we can do is pick up, deal with it and move forward," he added.
If anyone knows anything about the break-ins, Wright is appealing for them to come forward, saying any information provided will be given in confidence.
"Any insight they can give would be appreciated. After all, it is their building, it's their organization," he said.