Lottery ticket helps break Greater Victoria crime spree

A stolen lottery ticket worth $42 helped police unravel an Esquimalt man’s car break-in crime spree across Greater Victoria.

A stolen lottery ticket worth $42 has helped police unravel an Esquimalt man’s region-wide theft from vehicle crime spree.

Regional Crime Unit officers arrested a 46-year-old man on on Feb. 21 around noon near his home in the 600-block of Grenville Avenue. Police found at least 100 pieces of stolen property in his residence, mainly electronic items like cellphones, iPods, cameras and GPS units.

As of Friday, officers have connected the stolen goods to 24 separate thefts from vehicles, including 12 from Saanich, and the remainder from Sooke, West Shore, Oak Bay, Central Saanich, and Sidney. In the first half of February, auto crime in Saanich alone spiked to 86 thefts from vehicles.

RCU investigators caught a break from a car break-in in the 1600-block of Ash Road near Mount Doug Park, from Feb. 12. The thief had stolen a Lotto Max ticket that the owner had photocopied, as it was part of a group purchase.

Armed with a serial number and due to the lucky fact the ticket was a $42 winner, the B.C. Lottery Corp. was able to pinpoint that it was cashed at a Chevron in Esquimalt, and from that, police started to zero in on a suspect through video footage.

RCU Staff Sgt. Gary Schenk said the gas station video wasn’t good enough to identify a suspect right way. But around the same time, a fingerprint from a different theft from vehicle case in Saanich produced a hit from the national fingerprint database – a real life CSI moment. The RCU had a name – Darin Hagel.

RCU officers soon realized this suspect had shown up in police surveillance of another offender under investigation in December. Between the gas station video and police surveillance footage, the RCU figured they had their man.

“In that (police) video he was wearing the same toque and vest as when he cashed that lottery ticket. In our business we call that a clue,” Schenk joked. “All combined, that allowed us to arrest him for the stolen lottery ticket.”

RCU officers have spent the past week cataloguing and returning stolen goods to their owners. Most are electronic items, but the latest was a distinctive cowboy hat taken from a vehicle in Saanich.

“It was one of those situations of good police work and good luck,” remarked Saanich police Sgt. Steve Eassie.

Schenk said since the Feb. 21 arrest, police have already seen a significant drop in thefts from autos in the region.

“He is definitely a good on to get off the street,” Schenk said. “And it gives officers tremendous job satisfaction returning stolen property.”

Darin Hagel, 46, is charged with 23 counts of theft, possession of stolen property, and mischief. He has a court hearing on March 14 and remains in custody.

Hagel was known to Greater Victoria police agencies for property crimes 10 or 15 years ago, but had lived in the Lower Mainland until recently, Schenk said. Hagel has an extensive criminal record in most Metro Vancouver cities.

The RCU is comprised of police officers from Saanich, Oak Bay, Central Saanich, West Shore RCMP and provincial RCMP.

editor@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at car in Victoria

Prior to fecal incident, witnesses said cyclist was verbally abusive to driver

Reducing harm with ‘I carry naloxone’ buttons

Victoria-based designer makes buttons with social justice messages

It took 10 Victoria households’ worth of property tax to remove the John A. Macdonald statue, watchdog says

The Grumpy Taxpayer$ group says the $30,000 could have been reduced with better planning

Coin-opperated pinball arcade opens in downtown Victoria

Quazar’s Arcade offers new and retro games, with approval from Jeff Goldblum

Unique technology gives children with special needs more independent play

UVic’s CanAssist refined seven prototypes aided by $1.5M government contribution

Laine scores 3 as Jets double Canucks 6-3

Injury-riddled Vancouver side drops sixth in a row

Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

Outreach group ordered to stop feeding homeless on City of Parksville property

City issued Manna Homeless Society cease and desist order after complaints from public

Victim’s girlfriend testifies on first day of 2016 Chemainus murder trial

“I was soaked in blood from the neck down”: witness

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Auditor general takes aim at Liberals’ fighter-jet plan

Suditor general Michael Ferguson is about to release a new report on Canada’s attempts to buy new fighter jets

B.C. couple converts ambulance into a traveling home

The Revelstoke couple plan on touring B.C. ski hills then driving to Mexico

Jamie Koe, other curlers kicked out of bonspiel for being too drunk

‘You don’t kick around other players’ bags, it’s disrespectful and we expect better of our players’

Most Read