Marine crime spree leads to arrest of 2 men
Police allege men used dinghies to access large boats and cabins in False Creek, English Bay and Howe Sound
Vancouver police say two men are facing charges for a six-month crime spree that targeted dozens of boats and remote island cabins around False Creek, English Bay and Howe Sound.
Police allege the men stole small dinghies and other boats from docks and marinas around False Creek and then used them to reach larger boats moored in in the harbour and cabins on the island.
In some cases the men allegedly took their time looting the boats, staying overnight and making themselves comfortable before eventually loading any valuables they could grab back on the dinghy and hauling it back to a hotel on the Downtown Eastside in Vancouver.
"They spent some time on the boats eating the food, drinking the booze, in some cases cooking meals ... which we hope will lead to the DNA evidence," said Const. Janet Stringer.
Police say they first noticed a spike in marine thefts in August, and they launched an investigation with the RCMP and police from other municipalities, as the thieves moved from area to area stealing items such as tools, electronics, marine clothing, navigational and safety gear.
Then in November they got a tip from the public and Jeremy Edward Donald Walker, 35, was arrested on Dec. 1 during the execution of a search warrant at the West Hotel in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.
Liam Eric Fell, 39, was arrested on Dec. 6 during a investigation into a break-in at a cabin on Passage Island, located off of West Vancouver.
The two are facing several charges including possession of stolen goods, prohibited fire arms, break-and-enter and obstruction of police. Police say both are from B.C. and have lengthy criminal records. Police allege they stole up to $200,000 worth of goods, including one inflatable boat with an outboard engine worth $50,000.
Police say they suspect the pair are responsible for dozens of similar crimes, and DNA evidence collected from the boats is still being analyzed
They are advising the public to make sure their small boats are locked up securely, valuables are removed and insurance and alarms are in place whenever possible.
The police also released several photos of some of the goods recovered. Anyone who recognizes any of the items is asked to contact the VPD Marine Unit at 604-717-2791.