A shopping spree at Real Canadian Superstore ended poorly for three Langford residents after police busted them buying goods with stolen credit cards.
The Regional Crime Unit arrested two men and one woman without incident Wednesday afternoon, who were in the midst of taking turns buying gift cards and merchandise using credit cards stolen earlier in the day.
The RCU had the two men, a 39-year-old and a 32-year-old, on their target list as prolific offenders. Officers put the men under surveillance Wednesday, but not before they had broken into a car in East Sooke park.
RCU Staff Sgt. Gary Schenk said the men carefully removed several credit cards from a wallet in a purse in a car at Anderson Cove, but left the contents undisturbed to cover their tracks.
“Clearly they wanted to delay discovery of the theft to increase the opportunity to wrack up charges,” Schenk said. “In this case (the victim) was not aware her card was missing until we called her. She was very grateful we apprehended them quickly.”
Schenk estimates the trio spent about $600 on the cards between a stop at a fast food restaurant, a gas station and then Superstore.
Schenk noted that park parking lots, especially in remote areas such as East Sooke, can be prime targets for thieves. People jogging or on long hikes shouldn’t leave valuables in their car.
“Chances are the owner is a distance away, there’s not a lot of bystanders and vehicles are unattended for a long time,” Schenk said. “There is no question that vehicles can be vulnerable.”
The RCU has officers from West Shore and provincial RCMP, and Saanich, Oak Bay and Central Saanich police departments. The unit focuses on monitoring active offenders.
Aaron Reid, 39, is charged with two counts of fraud, possession of stolen property and possession of break-in tools. He has been released and is due in court Feb. 3.
Shawn Pineau, 32, is charged with the same offenses and breach of a probation condition. He is in custody waiting for a bail hearing. Both are well known to police, and the RCU regards Pineau in particular as a prolific offender.
Crown has dropped the charge of possession of stolen property against the 20-year-old woman.