British Columbia

Prolific break-and-enter pair arrested, 30 charges laid

Police believe the arrest of two Burnaby men will have a major impact on the rising number of commercial break-ins.

Arrest of 2 Burnaby men 'will have a major impact on commercial break-ins' around Vancouver, police say

Vancouver police say they have arrested two prolific commercial break-and-enter suspects who were targeting businesses that were closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

UPDATED, May 20, 2020: This story has been updated to reflect the fact Vancouver police initially reported the men had been charged with 70 counts but later issued a statement saying only 30 charges were approved by Crown prosecutors.

Two chronic offenders are charged with 30 offences related to a spate of commercial break-ins that took place in Vancouver and surrounding communities dating back to November 2019.

Vancouver police say Burnaby men Shane Duhamel, 44, and Jesse Palanio, 33, were both arrested over a month ago and remain in custody.

"We believe that the arrest of these two suspects and the subsequent charge approval will have a major impact on commercial break-ins around the city," said Sgt. Aaron Roed.

Duhamel is charged with 13 counts of break-and-enter and one count of possession of break-in instruments. 

The 16 charges against Palanio include six counts of break-and-enter, two counts of identity theft and one count of possession of a prohibited weapon.   

The charges relate to commercial break-and-enters in Vancouver, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby, Abbotsford and Richmond.

Roed said many of the alleged crimes the two men committed targeted businesses that had closed down in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Vancouver police say commercial break-and-enters have been spiking since the pandemic was declared on March 12. Roed said in April alone, the VPD responded to 360 commercial break-and-enters.

Police are asking businesses to take extra precautions during the pandemic by moving property out of view, using shutters and by upgrading locks and lighting.