String of Winnipeg roof hatch thefts ends with $66,000 in property taken, man charged

A man is facing multiple charges after several reports of break and enters at commercial properties between September and November, say Winnipeg police.

Police say man got in through roof hatches during months-long commercial break-and-enter spree

A low-angle shot shows a tall vertical sign reading "police," in front of a large office building with a "Winnipeg Police Service Headquarters" sign on its front.
Winnipeg police arrested a suspect Friday after a string of break and enters yielded more than $66,000 in stolen property. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

A man is facing multiple charges after several reports of break and enters at commercial properties between September and November, say Winnipeg police.

Police believe the man got into buildings through the roof hatches before leaving with stolen property estimated at a value of over $66,000, according to a news release issued Sunday.

"It's certainly not the first time that the Winnipeg Police Service has seen that type of entry into businesses to gain access to steal and remove property from the premises," WPS spokesperson Const. Claude Chancy said Sunday.

The first incident involved a break and enter at a residence on Ashland Avenue, between Osborne and Hay streets, between Aug. 24 and 25 when police say the man, 31, stole a 2007 Honda motorcycle valued at over $5,000.

In the second incident, on Sept. 23, the man entered a business on Scurfield Boulevard, between Kenaston Boulevard and Dovercourt Drive, through an unsecured door and took around $1,000 worth of tobacco products, police said.

More tobacco products — worth approximately $6,000 — were stolen Oct. 10 from a business on Pembina Highway, between Thatcher Drive and University Crescent, after the man entered through the roof hatch, police said.

The man went through another roof hatch on Oct. 16 and 18, stealing a light fixture and two gumball machines from a business on Portage Avenue, between Rouge Road and Westwood Drive, police said.

Watches, electronics stolen

On Oct. 21, multiple watches were stolen from a business on Pembina, between Jackson Avenue and Stafford Street, after police say the man entered through the roof hatch.

He also allegedly smashed a glass watch display, causing around $4,000 in damage.

Two days later, the man broke in through the roof hatch of a business on Kenaston Boulevard, between McGillivray and Scurfield boulevards, and stole about $23,500 worth of electronics, police said.

The next day, he stole more electronics — valued at approximately $10,500 — from a business on Portage Avenue between Olive and Wallasey streets, after once again entering the roof hatch, police said.

Another roughly $12,000 of electronics were stolen via a roof hatch on Oct. 27 from a business on Pembina, between Dalhousie Drive and Chancellor Matheson Road. 

Police say the man also stole an unspecified amount of merchandise via the roof hatch of a business on Sage Creek Boulevard on Nov. 1 as well as a $20 razor from a business on Roblin Boulevard on Nov. 3, when he was seen leaving in a red vehicle.

Officers arrested the man during a traffic stop on Friday. 

"This is a person that thought that this mode of entry was certainly successful … until we were able to gain enough information to be able to identify him," Chancy said.

Investigators searched the man's vehicle and residence and found the stolen motorcycle, stolen property, break-in instruments and personal clothing used during the incidents.