RELEASED ON BEHALF OF THE REGIONAL CRIME UNIT:

 

In an effort to identify those responsible for the recent thefts of copper wire around the Capital Region and to curtail these thefts, Regional Crime Unit officers have been monitoring a number of locations (residences) frequented by persons well known to police.

During the evening hours of Thursday, February 9 members of the Regional Crime Unit were following a male suspect in the recent thefts of copper wire from various locations around the capital region. The male was followed to a business premise located in the 3300 block of Tennyson Avenue in Saanich, where officers observed him spend approximately 45 minutes attempting to defeat a padlock using a variety of tools. The suspect was attempting to gain access to a fenced compound where equipment and materials including copper wire are stored. This location has been the site of numerous overnight break-ins and thefts of similar materials. The suspect had successfully defeated the lock and was attempting to make entry into the yard when he was interrupted by the arrival of a fuel delivery driver and he fled the area on a bicycle. RCU officers continued to follow the male until he could be arrested by a Saanich Police uniformed officer on Burnside Road East near Jutland Road.

Police have charged a 44 year old Victoria man with one count each of Break and Enter With Intent to Commit (Sec. 348(1)(a) CC) and Possession of Break In Instruments (Sec. 351(1) CC). The man is well known to police as a property offender and he was held in custody overnight to appear in court on Friday, February 10. He has been released on a Recognizance of Bail with several conditions, and is scheduled to return to court on March 7.

As part of the ongoing investigation, Regional Crime Unit officers' attention was drawn

to two males on bicycles during the early morning hours of Saturday, February 18.  Officers observed the two males prowling around commercial properties in the area of Glanford Avenue and Vanalman Avenue.  As they departed this area RCU requested the assistance of Saanich Police in performing a traffic stop and two men were stopped on Harriet Road. The officer observed a large section of heavy industrial copper wire in a trailer being towed by one of the bicycles.  Police seized a 15 metre length of copper wire weighing approximately 150 pounds, and the two suspects were allowed to proceed pending investigation of the origin of the wire.

Follow-up investigation identified the wire as property of an electrical contracting company located in the 4200 block Glanford Avenue, where the two suspects had been observed, and also resulted in evidence of them having committed the theft of this wire. On Friday, February 24th,  RCU officers arrested two Saanich men aged 47 and 41 years. Both men have been charged with one count of Theft Under $5000 (Sec. 334(b) CC) and one count of Mischief Under $5000 (Sec. 430(4) CC).  They will be making a court appearance Friday afternoon by way of a Telebail hearing, and are expected to be released on a Recognizance of Bail with conditions including curfews.

Police are continuing to investigate the recent series of copper wire thefts in the Greater Victoria Area.  These thefts have included the cutting of underground wiring, the cutting of light stands, and break-ins and thefts from businesses storing copper wire.  These thefts have resulted in potentially dangerous electrical situations and substantial costs to local businesses.  Members of the public are reminded to be vigilant and report any information or suspicious activity which might assist this investigation to their local police agency.

The Regional Crime Unit is an integrated unit comprised of police officers from the Saanich Police Department, Oak Bay Police Department, Central Saanich Police Service, West Shore Detachment RCMP as well as Provincial RCMP.  Since February 2008 the Regional Crime Unit has been pursuing its mandate of proactively targeting the region’s most prolific criminal offenders.

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