PEI

Richard Arsenault, accused screen cutter, arrest possible with 'right tip at the right time'

Island RCMP say more charges are likely against Richard Arsenault as they review dozens of unsolved break-ins.

Richard Arsenault, former MMA fighter charged as screen cutter, has criminal past

Richard Joseph Arsenault, 38, leaves Charlottetown court after his arrest Tuesday, August 16, 2016. (Sarah MacMillan/CBC)

Richard Joseph Arsenault, the man arrested Tuesday and accused of a string of break-ins, is a former mixed martial arts fighter and also has a criminal record.

P.E.I. RCMP said more charges are likely as they review multiple unsolved break-ins in Charlottetown, Stratford and Cornwall, following the arrest of former MMA fighter Richard Arsenault.

RCMP believe this ski mask was worn during the break-ins. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

In a news release, police credited "the right tip at the right time" for making the arrest possible, but did not provide details.

Arsenault, 38 of Traveller's Rest, P.E.I., was arrested in the early hours of Tuesday morning. He was charged with 10 criminal counts in connection with break-and-enters to residential homes in the Stratford, Cornwall and Charlottetown areas over the past year.

In some incidents, homeowners reported screens on windows had been cut, including some from the upper storeys of homes.

Stole mostly money, say police

"He's gained some notoriety because of his exploits over the last couple of years," said Charlottetown Deputy Police Chief Brad MacConnell.

Arsenault was sentenced to prison for a break-and-enter six years ago. Since then, he has launched a successful gym in Summerside and contributes to community work. (CBC)

"It's my opinion this man is nothing but a thief who stole children's piggy banks and robbed them of their peace of mind and we're happy he's in custody."

Police displayed a broken piggy bank at a news conference.

Police believe Arsenault mostly stole money, and when he was arrested he had "break-in tools" in his possession including gloves, a screwdriver and flashlight.

'Kept our communities on edge'

"He has a lengthy criminal record and has kept our communities on edge at best and violated at its worst," said Sgt. Leanne Butler of P.E.I. RCMP.

Police say they will be in touch with victims in regards to recovered cash in the days to come.

Criminal past

In 2010 Arsenault was sentenced to two years in prison, after being found guilty of a break-and-enter in Charlottetown.

Following his release, he launched his business and has contributed to community work in the Summerside area.

'I love my husband and I stand by him'

A phone call to Arsenault's business Island Impact Mixed Martial Arts in Summerside was answered today by a woman who identified herself as his wife.

"I love my husband and I stand by him," she said.

The woman declined to comment on the charges.

A post to the gym's Facebook page stated it will be closed until further notice.

"As you've heard we are dealing with a difficult situation," it reads. "Thank you to each of you who have sent me a message of support, it is truly appreciated."

Arsenault has consented to remain in custody until a show-cause hearing can be held.

That show-cause hearing is slated for Thursday.