Lottery ticket helps break Greater Victoria crime spree

A stolen lottery ticket worth $42 helped police unravel an Esquimalt man’s car break-in crime spree across Greater Victoria.

A stolen lottery ticket worth $42 has helped police unravel an Esquimalt man’s region-wide theft from vehicle crime spree.

Regional Crime Unit officers arrested a 46-year-old man on on Feb. 21 around noon near his home in the 600-block of Grenville Avenue. Police found at least 100 pieces of stolen property in his residence, mainly electronic items like cellphones, iPods, cameras and GPS units.

As of Friday, officers have connected the stolen goods to 24 separate thefts from vehicles, including 12 from Saanich, and the remainder from Sooke, West Shore, Oak Bay, Central Saanich, and Sidney. In the first half of February, auto crime in Saanich alone spiked to 86 thefts from vehicles.

RCU investigators caught a break from a car break-in in the 1600-block of Ash Road near Mount Doug Park, from Feb. 12. The thief had stolen a Lotto Max ticket that the owner had photocopied, as it was part of a group purchase.

Armed with a serial number and due to the lucky fact the ticket was a $42 winner, the B.C. Lottery Corp. was able to pinpoint that it was cashed at a Chevron in Esquimalt, and from that, police started to zero in on a suspect through video footage.

RCU Staff Sgt. Gary Schenk said the gas station video wasn’t good enough to identify a suspect right way. But around the same time, a fingerprint from a different theft from vehicle case in Saanich produced a hit from the national fingerprint database – a real life CSI moment. The RCU had a name – Darin Hagel.

RCU officers soon realized this suspect had shown up in police surveillance of another offender under investigation in December. Between the gas station video and police surveillance footage, the RCU figured they had their man.

“In that (police) video he was wearing the same toque and vest as when he cashed that lottery ticket. In our business we call that a clue,” Schenk joked. “All combined, that allowed us to arrest him for the stolen lottery ticket.”

RCU officers have spent the past week cataloguing and returning stolen goods to their owners. Most are electronic items, but the latest was a distinctive cowboy hat taken from a vehicle in Saanich.

“It was one of those situations of good police work and good luck,” remarked Saanich police Sgt. Steve Eassie.

Schenk said since the Feb. 21 arrest, police have already seen a significant drop in thefts from autos in the region.

“He is definitely a good on to get off the street,” Schenk said. “And it gives officers tremendous job satisfaction returning stolen property.”

Darin Hagel, 46, is charged with 23 counts of theft, possession of stolen property, and mischief. He has a court hearing on March 14 and remains in custody.

Hagel was known to Greater Victoria police agencies for property crimes 10 or 15 years ago, but had lived in the Lower Mainland until recently, Schenk said. Hagel has an extensive criminal record in most Metro Vancouver cities.

The RCU is comprised of police officers from Saanich, Oak Bay, Central Saanich, West Shore RCMP and provincial RCMP.

editor@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Transit seeks feedback for proposed route changes to Esquimalt, View Royal

Feedback can be collected through open houses, survey

Why one Langford teacher is giving his kidney to a stranger

‘You get butterflies in your stomach,’ says man who has had 12 reconstructive surgeries

Students protest UVic’s new divestment policy

Divest UVic calls policy to reduce carbon emissions by 45 per cent over next 10 years ‘greenwashing’

Tony-award winning musical comes to Oak Bay

Canadian College of Performing Arts brings The Light in the Piazza to the stage

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Greater Victoria’s wanted list for the week of Jan. 28

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Are you concerned about the coronavirus?

The coronavirus which has sparked concern around the globe has now arrived… Continue reading

60% of Canadian workers would take a pay cut for better mental health support: survey

Survey found 77% of workers would leave for better wellness initiatives

Runaway rail car reported on same B.C. train line as fatal 2019 derailment

CP Rail confirmed the incident happened on Jan. 14.

Police arrest Baby Bear statue thief in Island community

Suspect alleged to be responsible for other crimes in Chemainus, Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Alberta

‘Critically low’ caribou population prompts wolf cull in the Chilcotin

Itcha-Ilgachuz herd numbers down to 385, from 2,800 in 2003

RCMP to review fatal B.C. train derailment investigation after evidence points to ‘cover up’

The derailment, which occurred on Feb. 4, 2019, killed three men from Calgary

Family hopes Britain can get pregnant B.C. woman out of China’s coronavirus epicentre

Lauren Williams, who is about 35 weeks pregnant, has been stuck in Wuhan

Most Read