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Suspect with loaded sawed-off shotgun in his backpack arrested in Nanaimo

Bike patrol officers come across weapons while looking into loitering in parking lot
Police in Nanaimo discovered multiple weapons, including a loaded sawed-off shotgun, when they checked a man’s backpack Tuesday, April 23. (Photo: submitted)

A man who was allegedly packing a loaded sawed-off shotgun in his backpack was arrested yesterday in Nanaimo.

The incident happened Tuesday, April 23, at about 10:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven on Fifth Street in Harewood, where officers had gone to investigate people who were loitering outside of a local business, according to a Nanaimo RCMP press release.

Officers encountered three individuals sitting in a parking stall outside the business. One of the men, who was known to police, was also known to be prohibited from possessing break-in tools. As the officers approached the three individuals, they noticed the suspect had a backpack with him and beside it was an axe. The man was immediately arrested for breaching an existing court order, and a search of the backpack and his clothing turned up several knives, a hatchet and a sawed-off shotgun, which was loaded.

The 29-year-old from Nanaimo was held in custody overnight and appeared in provincial court on Wednesday, April 24, when he was charged with firearm and weapons offences. He remains in custody to await his next court appearance Tuesday, April 30.

“Alarmingly, officers are finding more and more of these modified firearms, replica firearms … bear spray and assortment of knives and weapons on a daily basis,” said reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesperson, in the release. “This patrol, while seemingly routine, was not, and is a testament to the diligence of the bike patrol and other front-line officers in keeping the criminal element in check and our community safe.”

Patrols of parking lots are being carried out by Nanaimo RCMP bike patrol unit officers due to a reported increase in loitering, trespassing and unwanted criminal activity, the release noted.

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