*****The following press release is being posted on behalf of S/Sgt. Gary Schenk, Regional Crime Unit*****
On March 25, 2013, West Shore RCMP received a report of an overnight break and enter at the Shell Gas station located at 2890 West Shore Parkway in Langford, where unknown suspects had disabled the alarm system and targeted the ATM. The Regional Crime Unit commenced an investigation to assist West Shore RCMP and identified that this incident had offence characteristics similar to recent incidents in Nanaimo and Ladysmith. Following another similar break and enter in Central Saanich on April 29, 2013, the Regional Crime Unit became the lead agency coordinating the investigation of the following four incidents:
- 13-03-21 / Art Knapp Plantland, 6469 Metral Drive / Nanaimo RCMP file 13-6987
- 13-03-22 / A&W Restaurant, 12615 Trans-Canada Hwy / Ladysmith RCMP file 13-663
- 13-03-25 / Shell Gas station, 2890 West Shore Parkway / West Shore RCMP file 13-3899
- 13-04-29 / Pat Bay Co-op, 6429 Patricia Bay Hwy / Central Saanich Police file 13-1188
Extensive follow-up investigation eventually resulted in the identification of two possible suspects who were determined to be the targets of Project “Longstocking”, an active multi-jurisdictional investigation in the Lower Mainland led by Vancouver Police. The two males had been identified as suspects in similar cases of sophisticated commercial break and enters in Abbotsford, Langley, North Vancouver, Kelowna and Vancouver. RCU officers liaised with investigators and prosecutors in those jurisdictions to share information and coordinate a joint investigative strategy. The evidence obtained by the RCU through the execution of a series of judicial authorizations contributed significantly to the ongoing investigation in the Lower Mainland and strengthened the case against the two suspects. Following consultation with Crown Counsel it was determined that a coordinated prosecution of this major case would be conducted in Vancouver. The entire RCU investigation was forwarded to Vancouver Regional Crown Counsel for charge approval and both suspects were arrested on November 4, 2013.
On November 5, 2013, 48 year old Richard William HAMVAI of Coquitlam was formally charged with one count of Break, Enter and Commit Theft in relation to each one of the four Island offences. 57 year old Robert Neil McGREISH of Surrey has also been charged with a single count of Break, Enter and Commit Theft in relation to the Pat Bay Co-op break and enter.
We are very pleased with this result. This file is an excellent example of inter-agency cooperation and all of our communities are safer today because of the information sharing and joint investigation which took place in this case.
The Regional Crime Unit is an integrated unit comprised of police officers from the Saanich Police Department, Oak Bay Police Department, West Shore Detachment RCMP as well as Provincial RCMP. Since 2008 the Regional Crime Unit has been pursuing its mandate of proactively targeting the region’s most prolific criminal offenders.
Staff Sergeant Gary Schenk
Officer in charge, CRD Regional Crime Unit