Police in Metro Vancouver have seized more than 5,000 N95 masks from resellers over the past two days.
The Delta Police Department (DPD) says it caught two individuals reselling boxes of masks “at highly inflated prices.”
According to a police statement, a constable with the Delta Police Crime Reduction Unit was looking through online ads. She found an individual reselling the masks and reached out, agreeing to make a purchase.
The arranged price was $15 per individual mask, plus a $300 delivery fee.
The constable says that she met the seller, a Burnaby resident, on April 2. They met at a pre-arranged location and he was driving a luxury vehicle.
He was issued a $500 bylaw ticket for operating without a business licence, and police seized 60 masks, for which the seller was asking $1,200.
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The second seizure took place on April 3. In this case, the police had arranged to purchase 3,000 surgical masks for $2,200. Similarly, this seller was issued a $500 bylaw ticket.
The DPD says that both sellers “voluntarily relinquished the masks to police.”
The second seller gave over an additional 2,300 masks and police seized 5,360 masks over the two-day span.
“Our Crime Reduction Unit follows crime trends, and it’s troubling to see people trying to flout the ministerial order during this pandemic,” says Cris Leykauf, spokesperson for Delta Police.
The DPD is now working with Fraser Health to establish how the masks can best be used.