Merritt RCMP officers responded to 82 separate incidents over the weekend including a report of vandalism to a helicopter that could have caused serious damage if unnoticed.

Const. Tracy Dunsmore said the local police were kept busy responding to the calls between July 20 and 22, including the call from Valley Helicopters.

“They found one of their helicopters had been entered and they found several discreet acts of mischief to the machine, which could have caused serious or grave damage to the helicopter and any passengers if undetected,” she said in a press release.

While there is a caretaker who lives onsite at the Merritt Airport, Dunsmore was unaware of any additional security measures at the airport or the helicopter hangar.

Dunsmore also reported that Merritt’s rural areas seem to have been hit the hardest over the weekend with several complaints of thefts from vehicles, as well as attempted thefts.

In one instance a person attempting a theft was interrupted by a neighbour at a business in Lower Nicola and the suspect fled on foot.

“Other rural areas such as Fox Farm and the Lower Nicola area reported other thefts which were undetected,” said Dunsmore.

Another potential crime was interrupted on Nicola Avenue when two males were caught trying to steal bottles from behind a business. Dunsmore said these two were also able to get away, but this time empty handed.

On the weekend, RCMP also responded to a report that indicated tires had been stolen from the Ministry of Forests compound on Airport Road. Dunsmore said the call was the third report of theft at the ministry in as many months.

RCMP also received a report that several vehicle windows had been smashed at the Nicola Fire Base near Nicola Lake.

Another weekend incident included a report of theft of scrap items from the TNRD landfill in Lower Nicola.

“Although not all the crimes were caught in the act, several of these crimes were deterred thanks to observant citizens who were able to report and stop the incidents while contacting police,” said Dunsmore.

No one was arrested in relation to any of the thefts, though nine people were arrested between Friday and Sunday, some of them for being drunk in public.

Anyone with information about any of these crimes or others should contact the Merritt RCMP or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.