Vancouver police say between January 1 and October 15, officers investigated 752 violent shoplifting cases throughout the city — a 550% increase from 2019.
Two releases were sent out Tuesday morning as officers continue to clampdown on chronic thieves and vandals around the city.
One details how a man with 103 prior criminal convictions was arrested just days after being released for another crime.
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The person was arrested after apparently stealing 47 pairs of yoga pants — worth more than $5,000 — from a retailer on Robson Street on Friday and was picked up again on Monday night in the West End after being accused of stealing hundreds of dollars’ worth of cosmetics.
“People who live and work in the downtown core are telling us they’re fed up with chronic thieves and vandals targeting their neighbourhoods,” says Sergeant Steve Addison. “We hear their frustration loud and clear, which is why we’ve stepped up patrols and enforcement throughout the community and are working hard to hold offenders accountable.”
“Most of these thefts are being fuelled by chronic offenders who are living with complex social needs, including addiction, poverty, and mental illness,” adds Sergeant Addison. “Sadly, we’re seeing many of these stolen items sold on the street, often in the Downtown Eastside, for pennies on the dollar.”
That arrest was part of several on Monday, and the VPD is now recommending 14 criminal charges in connection with the thefts.
Police managed to return more than $4,000 worth of stolen merchandise, and they also seized a number of weapons — including a knife, a replica firearm, and a flail, which is a makeshift weapon.
In another incident on Monday night, police say three people were arrested after a suspect flashed a gun while trying to steal $21 worth of ice cream.