British Columbia

COVID-19 compliance unit seizes $33K in stolen government cheques, arrests 2: RCMP

Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the theft of thousands of dollars worth of Canada Emergency Response Benefit cheques, GST refunds and tax refunds RCMP in Surrey, B.C., say.

Surrey RCMP unit found cheques along with 'large quantity' of stolen goods in Cloverdale

Part of a cheque for the $2,000 Canada Emergency Response Benefit from the Canadian government. CERB payments will be made every four weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost income due to COVID-19. (Chris Helgren/Reuters)

Two suspects have been arrested in connection with the theft of thousands of dollars worth of government-issued cheques, RCMP in Surrey, B.C., say.

The detachment's newly formed COVID-19 Compliance and Enforcement Team (CCET) was able to recover cheques totalling $33,000 during a recent routine patrol, according to a statement Wednesday.

Those included Canada Emergency Response Benefit, or CERB, cheques, GST rebates and income tax refunds along with cheques from other organizations.

Officers spotted three vehicles displaying fake licence plates and temporary operating permits around 9 p.m. PT on April 25, the release said.

CCET members tried to stop one of the vehicles as it pulled into the driveway of a Cloverdale residence, but after the driver parked behind the house, he fled on foot. 

Police said a woman in the passenger seat was arrested without incident. The driver, a man in his 30s, was later arrested and taken into custody.

Officers seized a "large quantity" of property stolen from across the Lower Mainland — including the cheques — and several pieces of fake identification.

The woman has since been released but is expected in court at a later date.

Charges have not been laid but the investigation is ongoing.

Compliance, safety checks

Since its launch at the end of March, the CCET has conducted more than 12,000 checks of businesses, faith-based locations, event locations, recovery homes, parks and beaches.

The unit was launched by Surrey RCMP at the end of March in collaboration with the City of Surrey.

Its main focus is to address public safety relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure organizations, public venues and event co-ordinators follow provincial public heath guidelines for stopping the spread of the illness.

Corrections

  • Citing an RCMP statement, an earlier version of this story said the stolen cheques were all linked to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB). Police later said the cheques were from a variety of federal government sources and other organizations.
    Apr 29, 2020 4:33 PM PT

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