Thief who tunnelled through businesses nabbed

IT took the combined efforts of the Coquitlam RCMP Prolific Target Team, Surrey RCMP Property Crime Target Team and the Burnaby RCMP Strike Force to take down an alleged property offender that tunnelled through businesses to commit crime.

Police began investigating on September 3 after several break and enters were reported to different agencies in the Lower Mainland. The suspects are believed to be responsible for a large number of offences that involved tunnelling through adjacent businesses to get inside.

A commercial safe that was stolen.

“Police recognize that criminals work across the Lower Mainland regardless of city borders and we are willing to do the same in order to keep people and property safe,” said Coquitlam RCMP Sgt. Keith Schendel. “Pooling resources and close communication between agencies helped us recognize the similarities in the offences and identify suspects.” 

After the primary suspect was identified, the Coquitlam RCMP Prolific Target Team made the arrests and then used search warrants to gather more evidence such as stolen commercial safes and tools used to commit multiple offences.

A door lock that was drilled in order to break into a business.

A 43-year-old man is facing several charges including:

  • Eight counts of break and enter,
  • One count of possession of break-in instruments.

A 39-year-old woman is facing the following charges:

  • Two counts of break and enter

Coquitlam RCMP Constable Deanna Law said that a break and enter can have an emotional and financial impact and offered a few tips to help protect people from becoming victims:

  • Illuminate as much of your property as possible,
  • Keep shrubbery cut back so it doesn’t block windows and doors,
  • Secure any glass that is less than 100 cm from a door,
  • Use a fencing style that will not conceal a criminal’s activities.

RCMP are reminding business owners to regularly check locks for drilling or damage, doors for evidence of prying, and to ensure video surveillance is working properly. Always report suspicious behaviour or if you have been a victim of a crime, call your police of jurisdiction. The Coquitlam non-emergency line is 604-945-1550.