Vancouver Police Department Anti-Fencing investigators arrested a husband and wife duo allegedly buying and selling large quantities of stolen property.
On March 1st, 2016, the VPD Anti-Fencing Unit executed a search warrant on a residence on East 20th Avenue near Fraser Street.
The husband and wife team functioned as a “predatory fence,” purchasing property from drug addicts who were stealing to support their habit. They also purchased from known professional thieves and organized retail crime groups. The property was resold to individuals from their home, or sent overseas, where it was further distributed to small retailers.
Police seized about $200,000 worth of stolen property from the home. A vehicle believed to have been used to transport the stolen goods was also seized as offense-related property.
The couple, aged 74 and 69, have no criminal record, but are well-known to police, and are believed to have been operating this stolen property fencing operation for several years. They have both been released pending further investigation and for charges to be approved by Crown.
The volume of property seized and observed would suggest that hundreds of crimes were being committed every month to fuel this illicit business. The cost of theft is then passed directly on to honest consumers.
“If you purchase products that are priced too good to be true from a site such as Craigslist or at a second-hand store, bar or restaurant, the item is likely stolen,” says Inspector Earl Andersen. “Buying stolen property is a criminal offense. You are not only contributing to the problem, but you can be charged criminally.”
Anyone with information of an underground operation fencing stolen property is asked to call the Vancouver Police Anti-Fencing Unit at (604) 717-3220. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477, or download their mobile App at the Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers website.