Shell Lake, Sask. museum suffers string of break-ins, thefts, vandalism

·2 min read
Items are in disarray after someone broke into the Shell Lake museum.
Items are in disarray after someone broke into the Shell Lake museum.

(Submitted by Coleen Sivertson - image credit)

Spiritwood RCMP are looking into a series of break and enters and thefts at the Shell Lake, Sask. museum.

Police said the museum, located roughly 130 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon, was broken into three times:

  • Between Jan. 10 and Jan. 21, 2021

  • Between Feb. 10 and Feb. 17, 2021

  • Between Feb. 18 and Feb. 19, 2021

Obscenities were spray painted on some walls.
Obscenities were spray painted on some walls.

Obscenities were spray painted on some walls.

Items stolen include the donation box, an antique double barrel shotgun, a First World War sword and sheath and tobacco pipes, among other things.

Police asked anyone with information about the incidents to call 310-RCMP or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Anita Weires, mayor of Shell Lake and museum committee member, said the museum is vacant in the winter. When the Shell Lake school closed, a lot of items from the school went to the museum.

One of the stolen items was the school's handbell.

"[That] would certainly have a lot of sentimental value to Shell Lake students and teachers," she said.

A mannequin in the museum was spray painted during a break and enter.
A mannequin in the museum was spray painted during a break and enter.

A mannequin in the museum was spray painted during a break and enter.

Lots of items, particularly war items, were donated by veterans.

"I don't think the news has reached everybody yet, but when it does, the people that donated these items are going to be very upset," she said.

"How do you go on from here? We need artifacts to have a museum … we'll probably get more donations but you can't replace all those items that are antiques."

Weires said she's discouraged. Over the years, she said she has put in countless hours into taking care of the museum. To walk in and see the village's hard work destroyed is upsetting, she said.

The museum has seen three break ins in about a month's time.
The museum has seen three break ins in about a month's time.

The museum has seen three break ins in about a month's time.

Weires said they would gladly accept donations of items right now, but knows that people might be hesitant given everything that has gone on.

"Shell Lake has had many disappointing things happen over the years and we don't give up. We keep on. That's the kind of people that we're made of here," she said.