A 30-year-old man has been found guilty of a series of armed holdups — including one that took place at the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal — after admitting the crimes to undercover police officers conducting a Mr. Big operation.
Thomas Bert Prins was convicted of seven offences in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster — including committing three armed robberies with a handgun, possession of an unregistered, unlicensed handgun and having his face masked with the intent to commit a crime.
Prins, who has been in custody since 2012, was also found guilty of threatening death or bodily harm toward a witness in the case.
The BC Ferries robbery
According to court documents, Prins used a handgun and a knife to rob two BC Ferries employees late on May 28, 2012, outside of a cash room, where the proceeds of fare purchases are deposited for the night.
The two employees received a call that a "prowler" had been spotted in the area.
When one left the room to investigate, he was confronted by Prins, whose face was covered in a balaclava.
Prins eventually left the BC Ferries employees alone after they handed over 20 dollars.
Stolen Squamish sandwiches
The next day, according to court documents, Prins, dressed in black clothing and a black balaclava, attempted to break into a Shell gas station in Squamish, B.C.
According to surveillance footage, he used a rock to break the glass on the door, but failed to break through a reinforced clear panel. He then left after the alarm system sounded.
The following night, Prins returned with a sledgehammer and successfully broke into the store — but because there was no cash in the cash register, made off with only sandwiches, chips, and soda.
Prins later admitted to these crimes during a Mr. Big operation, telling undercover cops that he broke into the Squamish gas station, wearing the same clothes he wore during the Horseshoe Bay robbery two nights before.
Golf course robbery
A week later on June 7, 2012, Prins robbed a local golf range operator at gunpoint as he walked to his car.
He took the man's wallet, $70 in cash, his car keys and cell phone, then left in the man's car.
He later admitted to an undercover officer that he took the $70 and the car keys, and that he had buried his gun, a Norinco Model 541, in Stanley Park.
Police later found the gun in the park.
Prins is set to be sentenced in December.