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Regional Crime Unit Lays 30 Charges in Province-Wide Cigarette Thefts

*****This media release is being posted on behalf of S/Sgt. Gary SCHENK of the CRD Regional Crime Unit.  Any questions regarding this press release may be forwarded to S/Sgt. SCHENK at 250-883-4389.******

 

Crown Counsel has approved 30 charges against 46 year old Christopher SHARAFI of Langley following a 7 month investigation by the Regional Crime Unit.   SHARAFI has been in custody since he was arrested January 23rd in Courtenay after RCU officers had watched him break into a vehicle in Nanaimo and steal approximately $3,200 worth of cigarettes which the victim had just purchased at Costco. SHARAFI had been identified as a suspect in cases all over British Columbia where unsuspecting customers had apparently been followed from Costco stores after making large volume purchases of cigarettes.  In each of these cases the recently purchased cigarettes were stolen from homes, businesses, or most often vehicles at the first opportunity where they were left unattended.

The new charges sworn against SHARAFI arise from 23 separate incidents in 2012 involving thefts of cigarettes.  In 20 of these alleged incidents the cigarettes were stolen from unattended vehicles, and on three occasions the theft was committed following a break and enter of a residence or business.

The 23 cigarette thefts occurred in Kamloops (6), Nanaimo (6), Saanich (4), Langford (2), Burnaby (2), as well as one each in Port Alberni, Campbell River, and Richmond.    The total value of the cigarettes stolen in these 23 incidents exceeds $90,000.

SHARAFI is scheduled to appear by video in Western Communities Provincial Court on Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 10:00 AM.

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.

 

Posted by Sgt. S. Eassie #158sharafi

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