Serial robber who targeted elderly victims in Montreal, Ottawa gets 8 years

Hamid Chekakri, 48, pleaded guilty to nine charges of aggravated assault, breaking and entering, robbery and causing a person to take an overpowering drug.

Hamid Chekakri, 48, pleaded guilty to 9 charges

Hamid Chekakri, 47, was arrested in Atlanta, Ga., on March 31, 2018. (SPVM)

An Algerian man charged in connection with the drugging and robbery of several elderly people in Montreal and Ottawa has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Hamid Chekakri, 48, pleaded guilty to nine charges of aggravated assault, breaking and entering, robbery and causing a person to take an overpowering drug.

There were seven incidents in total, six in Montreal and one in Ottawa. There were nine victims — all women, save for one.

Quebec court Judge Thierry Nadon accepted a joint sentencing recommendation made by the defence and prosecution.

Prosecutor Hugo Rousse said Chekakri's actions had lasting effects on the victims.

"It was organized, and he knew what he was doing, and he was targeting certain people, and these people were vulnerable people," he said.

With time served, Chekakri has just under seven years left in his sentence.

The modus operandi

Each robbery followed a similar pattern, according to the agreed statement of facts.

In all but one of the robberies, Chekakri used a drug called clonazepam — a prescription drug used to treat epilepsy.

Often, the victims were selling their homes. Chekakri would show up at their door asking to visit. Each time, he would use a fake identity and change his appearance.

In at least three of the incidents, he offered his victims chocolate laced with the drug. 

Once the victims fell unconscious, he stole their money and jewlery.

During one robbery, he spotted a safe in a room upstairs, asked the victim to make him a coffee in the kitchen downstairs and eventually took off.

Chekakri entered Canada Oct. 5, 2017. The crimes were committed between in November and December of that year. He left the country Dec. 28, 2017, after police issued a warning about a string of similar robberies.

U.S. marshals arrested Chekakri in Atlanta, Ga., in March of this year — authorities in Canada had issued a warrant for his arrest. He had liquid clonazepam in his suitcase.