BEGINNING in early August, the New Westminster Police Department received multiple reports of incidents of theft, some of which involved fraud and the use of stolen credit cards. The majority of the thefts involved purses or backpacks that were stolen from public places, such as coffee shops.
Unsuspecting people would set their purse or backpack down, and when left either unattended or with their back to their items, the suspect would take their property, often without being seen. After stealing the purse or backpack, the suspect would then allegedly use their credit cards for other purchases. The majority of the thefts occurred during day time hours in public places.
“Receiving multiple theft reports that share numerous similarities is concerning, so we assigned multiple different sections to investigate, which included members from patrol, the Criminal Intelligence Unit, the Crime Suppression Team, and the Forensic Identification Section,” said Sgt. Jeff Scott. “It is always troubling when there a series of offences, especially when the offences are done in broad daylight and in public spaces.”
On October 3, after a significant amount of investigation, and with the assistance of an alert employee at the River Market on Quayside Drive who recognized the suspect through video surveillance, 36-year-old William Raymond Banks, of Vancouver, was arrested and charged with nine counts of theft, six counts of fraud, two counts of breach of conditions, and one count of possession of stolen credit card.
“This is another example of the excellent collaboration between our different sections and members of the community,” said Scott. “Solving crime often includes the assistance of the public, so we want to thank the community for their help in solving this series of alleged offences.”
Banks remains in custody for his next court appearance on October 30.