A late night stakeout at a local golf course over the long weekend led to the arrest of a suspect in a string of business break-ins from Roberts Creek north to Pender Harbour.
Sunshine Coast RCMP said in a release Wednesday that officers decided to stake out at the Blue Ocean golf course in Sechelt “in hopes the suspect(s) might make an appearance.”
Around 2 a.m., a man matching the description of a suspect in other break and enters entered the property and walked past the police officers hiding outside. After a brief foot chase, the suspect was arrested and taken into custody.
The 32-year-old Sunshine Coast resident is now on bail with strict curfew conditions and “will be closely monitored by police,” according to the release, which also said further arrests are expected.
“I am incredibly proud of the work my officers have been doing to move this investigation forward. This was the break we needed. Now the hard work begins,” said Staff Sgt. Poppy Hallam.
“We have reason to believe the suspect was not acting alone and we are still processing mountains of evidence. Although we believe this suspect was involved in the majority of the break and enters, we cannot say that he was involved in all of them and we need the public to remain vigilant and do what they can to protect their property and report suspicious activity.”
Hallam also thanked those “who have come forward and helped our officers gather evidence to support charges. It truly takes a community to come together and get things done.”
She said business owners who were victims of previous break and enters may be getting a phone call from police looking to formalize statements and information to prepare the case for court.
The spike in break and enters started in early July and Sunshine Coast RCMP have been devoting extra resources investigating the crimes, which they suspected from the outset were likely connected.
The targets have been mainly rural businesses, some of which have been struck more than once, with the majority in and around Sechelt.
Statistics presented by Hallam at the Oct. 15 meeting of Gibsons council’s committee of the whole showed that the spike in break and enters continued through September with 12 reported to police in the Sechelt area, bringing the total since July 1 to 28. There were 14 break-ins in the other jurisdictions on the Coast over the same time period.
Hallam also told the committee that although the Town has not seen the same increase in break-ins as areas to the north, a 49-year-old woman arrested last month in connection with a series of residential break-ins in Sechelt was now also facing charges in relation to similar crimes in Gibsons.