Nfld. & Labrador

Donald Cameron seemed like 'real deal' before allegedly stealing vehicle, says car salesman

A man with convictions for theft and fraud in several Canadian provinces will be back in court next week for a bail hearing, after allegedly stealing a car and driving to the ferry in Port aux Basques.

Bail hearing set over to Feb. 21; Cameron will remain in custody for now

Donald John Cameron made his first appearance in a St. John's courtroom on Friday. (Sherry Vivian/CBC)

Donald Cameron took a car for a test drive on Monday afternoon, and the salesman says he is still waiting for him to come back.

It wasn't the first time the folks at A+ Auto Centre had seen Cameron on their lot, but as the hours ticked by on his test drive, they began to think it would be the last.

Cameron, a man with fraud and theft convictions all across Canada, is now charged with stealing a 2014 Ford Focus in St. John's about 12 hours before he was arrested at the ferry terminal in Port aux Basques on Monday night.

Cameron appeared at provincial court in St. John's on Friday. He has warrants for his arrest in 10 other Canadian cities where he skipped town.

Police say Donald John Cameron stole a vehicle from A+ Auto Centre in St. John's on Monday before making the trek across the province to Port aux Basques. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

Craig Evans, an experienced salesman, says he was fooled by a man who seemed trustworthy.

"He sat there in my office and seemed like the real deal," he said. "He asked all the right questions. He said all the right things."

Evans had first met Cameron two weeks earlier, when he walked onto the lot with a Tim Hortons coffee in hand and asked about a 2011 Nissan Rogue.

He said Cameron took the vehicle for a test drive, but returned before long and said he was uncomfortable driving around without up-to-date registration stickers.

Unbeknownst to the salesman, there was already a warrant for Cameron's arrest in St. John's.

He knew all the tricks.- Craig Evans

Evans said Cameron spoke about having a wife who was sick with cancer.

She would have their vehicle at a cancer clinic while undergoing treatment, Evans recalled him saying, and he needed a vehicle to drive.

On Monday, Evans spotted Cameron on the lot again, Tim Hortons coffee in hand, but this time eyeing a Ford sedan.

The two men talked about vehicles and hockey before Cameron took the car and went for a test drive.

As he rolled off the lot, Evans said he texted his boss and told him they had a slam dunk sale.

More than two hours passed, and after several unanswered phone calls, Cameron called from a private number and said he brought the car to King's Bridge Auto for an inspection, Evans said.

"He knew that to sell a used car in the province, it has to be inspected. He knew all the tricks."

Donald John Cameron, who has allegedly also used the alias Donald Joseph Cameron, moved to St. John's after an Ontario woman says he stole more than $15,000 of her cash and belongings. (Central Okanagan Crime Stoppers, Don Cameron/Facebook)

But when Evans called the owners at King's Bridge Auto, they said they didn't have a Ford Focus in their shop.

Believing the car to be stolen, Evans paid a visit to the address Cameron had provided before he left. When he got to the home in Airport Heights, he said the police were already at Cameron's apartment.

It is unclear why they were at the residence before the car was reported stolen, but police say they had several calls to the area that day.

With the vehicle now impounded more than 900 kilometres away, Evans said they will have to send someone to Port aux Basques to pick it up. The shop may also be on the hook for an impound fee.

Ex-fiancée hoping against bail

Cameron appeared in court in St. John's on Friday afternoon, where his bail hearing was set over to Feb. 21.

As he sat in the courtroom with news cameras in front of him, Cameron extended a middle finger to adjust his glasses.

His latest brush with the law stems from a falling out with his former fiancée, Mary-Lee MacInnis, in Sudbury, Ont.

Now, MacInnis is waiting anxiously to see if he is granted bail.

"Mr. Cameron has nothing keeping him in Newfoundland and he will leave," she said. "I can't see him remaining in Newfoundland to answer to the charges."

After the two split up late last summer, she alleged that Cameron stole more than $15,000 worth of cash, credit cards and jewellery and moved to St. John's.

He was charged last fall in Sudbury with six counts of fraud and six counts of using a stolen credit card.

Mary-Lee MacInnis, a nurse in Sudbury, Ont., fell in love with Donald Cameron quickly — only to find out he had a long criminal record. (Yvon Theriault/CBC)

On Jan. 18, police in St. John's laid a fraud charge for the sale of a camera MacInnis reported stolen.

The charge and subsequent arrest warrant was issued more than three months after CBC Investigates found the camera and matched the serial number to a warranty booklet in MacInnis's Sudbury home.

Court documents show Cameron has left a string of victims across Canada — mostly females — with allegations of theft and fraud.

"I just don't want to see him hurt anyone else," MacInnis said. "I don't want there to be any more victims."

A red and white logo says CBC Investigates.


Ryan Cooke is a multiplatform journalist with CBC News in St. John's. His work often takes a deeper look at social issues and the human impact of public policy. Originally from rural Newfoundland, he attended the University of Prince Edward Island and worked for newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada before joining CBC in 2016. He can be reached at