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Break-in victims take a stand against 'catch-and-release' criminal system

'Something needs to be done, they are not learning their lesson. If they don't face the consequences, there is nothing to stop them from re-offending.'

Sisters Leslie and Jaime McVeety have a message for a judicial system they say releases repeat offenders without bail or hands out light sentences only to see those same criminals re-offend.

"We want people to pay for their crimes," says Leslie. "We're tired of being victimized."

Jaime asks, "Why should we have to be out working and have everything we've worked so hard for ripped out of our hands?"

See also: Encounter leaves homeowner 'fed up' with state of downtown — now looking to sell

The McVeety sisters share a residence on McPhail Street and say they are still going through the psychological after-effects of the invasion of their home and the theft of thousands of dollars of belongings in August. 

Jaime carries a sign with a photo of the damaged door left by the crime and Leslie shares with BayToday, at the same time she is being interviewed, she is having a hard time turning her back to anyone she is so jumpy.

To make matters worse, the sisters claim to know who broke into their home but the police cannot act because there is no proof. They say the name of that person is one they see often in media reports on crime. 

The sisters also count seven attempted break-ins at their home since the August incident, pointing out the repeated attempts to steal property or break and enter resulted in their neighbour one street over taking matters into his own hands with a prowler.  

"It's the same people over and over again," observes Leslie. "Something needs to be done, they are not learning their lesson. If they don't face the consequences, there is nothing to stop them from re-offending."

The sisters say they've had enough and it's time for judges to quit playing catch-and-release with criminals, a sentiment emblazoned on Leslie's sign at a spirited but sparsely-attended rally outside the North Bay Courthouse, Tuesday. The sisters understand the rain and work commitments have kept their numbers small but say they are grateful for all of the support they've received on social media for their stance.

"We're hoping this makes a difference," says Jaime of the demonstration. "Enough is enough something has to be done. These people are getting away with everything and they know it. Because of that, they are going to keep re-offending."

They say they are hopeful their peaceful demonstration draws attention to their experience — and those of other victims of crime. If the constant honking of passing vehicles is any indication, they have the support of the community.

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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