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VPD officers target violent shoplifters in month-long initiative

Vancouver – Vancouver Police today released results from a month-long initiative targeting violent and prolific shoplifters downtown. The project resulted in 268 recommended criminal charges.

“This initiative was established in response to growing crime in the area,” says Inspector Rob Clarke, Operations Division, VPD. “Last year in the downtown core, VPD saw a 260 per cent increase in shoplifting incidents involving weapons such as bear spray, knives, needles, and guns, when compared to the previous year.”

The initiative – named Project Arrow – concluded February 12. During the four-week project VPD officers worked closely with retailers and store security, and achieved the following results:

  • 250 shoplifting incidents were investigated by VPD
  • 130 individual offenders were arrested, resulting in 268 recommended criminal charges
  • $37,093 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to merchants
  • 35 weapons were seized
  • 45 offenders were either wanted or caught breaching bail conditions at the time of their arrest

“I am proud of these results, and I hope this initiative sends a clear message to the business community that the VPD will respond swiftly when you tell us your concerns about crime and safety,” adds Inspector Clarke. “Moreover, I hope it sends a clear message to violent thieves – we are watching you, and when we catch you, you will be arrested and charged.”

Incidents of note:

  • Officers arrested a 44-year-old violent offender who allegedly stole six items worth $648 from the Robson Street Lululemon on January 23. The suspect, who previously served a seven-year sentence for manslaughter and is currently charged with assault causing bodily harm, allegedly had a full can of bear spray up his sleeve. He was arrested and charged with theft under $5,000.
  • A known offender with a previous manslaughter conviction allegedly stole two LED flashlights from London Drugs on Robson Street on February 9. At the time of his arrest, the suspect was on probation for two previous thefts and had court conditions banning him from all London Drugs stores in B.C. He was arrested and charged with theft under $5,000.
  • On January 28, a loss prevention officer at London Drugs on Granville Street watched a 24-year-old woman allegedly steal cosmetics. The staff member alerted officers, who arrested the thief. The suspect was in possession of a large knife and a firearm. She was arrested for the theft, and for violating a court-ordered firearms prohibition. She was charged with theft under $5,000.

VPD encourages anyone who witnesses crime of has information about a crime to report to contact police so an investigation can take place.