Central Saanich Police nab ‘prolific offender’

CSPS used Regional Crime Unit surveillance to catch suspected thief

Central Saanich Police caught up with an alleged thief who they say has been plaguing municipalities from Sidney to Sooke.

A 31-year-old man of no fixed address was arrested this week after police and the Regional Crime Unit set up surveillance in the Tanner Ridge area last Friday. The area had reportedly been a theft hotspot for almost a year.

Police say the alleged thief would hit suburban and rural neighbourhoods in Sooke, Central Saanich and Sidney, trying door handles on parked vehicles. According to police, if the doors were unlocked, he’d take any items of value in view.

“This was a case where the thief was targeting areas where he knew people are complacent about locking their vehicles,” said Corporal Pat Bryant of the Central Saanich Police.

“He wasn’t smashing windows or busting locks, he wasn’t looking to attract attention.”

Bryant estimated that the man is responsible for more than 140 thefts from vehicles in the three municipalities targeted.

“He would often steal change, laptops, iPads, anything of value that left in-sight in unlocked vehicles,” said Bryant.

The man, who police suspect was familiar with the areas he was targeting, was arrested and charged with several counts of theft, possession of stolen property and drug possession.

“He admitted that his stealing was fuelled by his drug addiction, which isn’t an unusual situation,” said Bryant.

“It was the pattern and timeline of the thefts that tipped us off that it might be the same suspect. I credit the collaborative effort of our team and the Regional Crime Unit in catching this prolific offender.”

“If it hadn’t been for the hard work by our officers and forensics team who took it to the next level and took the time to submit detailed reports and look for fingerprints we wouldn’t have caught the guy. It is very gratifying.”

The man was held overnight in Central Saanich and released on bail and strict conditions the following day.