Employees at Coronation Plaza are becoming increasingly concerned about people dumpster-diving and creating a mess in the garbage areas behind the mall’s stores. There have even been reports of people sleeping in the garbage bins. (Robert Barron/Citizen)

Duncan dumpster raiders raise alarms

Mall employees feel threatened

Employees in a number of stores in Duncan’s Coronation Plaza are increasingly concerned about people dumpster-diving in their garbage bins.

Elaine Graham, an employee of one business in the plaza for 34 years, said people have been hanging out in the rear of the mall, shooting up drugs, tearing open garbage bags in the bins and scattering their contents all over the ground.

She said workers have even found people sleeping in the garbage dumpsters.

“It’s gotten to the point where workers won’t even come out here at night,” Graham said.

“It’s just not right. Not only are we afraid for our safety, but we also have to clean up the mess that they leave behind.

“The situation’s been getting worse over the last year.”

Graham said the plaza’s owners have been informed of the issue and have promised to make the areas where the garbage bins are kept more secure to keep the problem people out.

“These people have always been friendly enough when we ask them to move on, but there are concerns that they may not be always so nice, especially when drugs are involved,” she said.

“We’re afraid of what could happen.”

Cpl. Amron Russell, a spokeswoman for the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP detachment, said the detachment does get calls concerning people looking through garbage bins, but this is the first time she can recall complaints of people sleeping in them.

She said people are encouraged to call the police if they find themselves in situations where they feel unsafe.

“We don’t want members of the public to react and try to handle it themselves,” Russell said.

“We deal with each situation individually, depending on the person or people we’re dealing with. When people call with these concerns, we would want a physical description of the person or people, what they are wearing and exactly what they are doing to raise fears and suspicions.”

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