Police bust black market operation at East Vancouver house selling $130,000 worth of clothing and alcohol

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      Lower Mainland police have been recovering large amounts of stolen property over the past few weeks, with the latest report coming from the Vancouver Police Department (VPD).

      The VPD stated in a news release today (December 11) that after an anonymous source informed them that individuals at a residence near Victoria Drive and East 49th Avenue were selling stolen property, police used a search warrant at the house on November 27.

      At the location in East Vancouver, officers discovered several rooms full of clothing, alcohol, and other items stolen from 20 retail stores.

      The stolen property, which is estimated to be worth a total of almost $130,000, was being displayed on racks and tables with price tags for purchase by potential customers. Among the items was about $40,000 worth of alcohol, including high-end cognac and Scotches.

      Vancouver Police Department

      At a VPD news conference today, spokeperson Sgt. Aaron Roed stated that there weren’t any buyers present at the time of the search and police are still investigating how buyers found out about the location.

      Sgt. Roed stated that this operation, which had been going on for a few months, was “not connected to anything that’s happening on the Downtown Eastside”. He explained that the thefts took place in multiple cities across Metro Vancouver.

      “This is a large quantity of stolen items, and we are working with several retailers to return their property,” Sgt. Roed stated in a news release.

      The VPD stated that they have investigated almost 2,000 reported shoplifting incidents so far this year (1,930 reported shoplifting cases took place in 2018).

      Police arrested two Vancouver suspects, who were identified as stealing and selling the items themselves (and not hiring others to steal items, as Sgt. Roed clarified), who have since been released pending further investigation.

      The VPD anticipate charges will be recommended in the next few weeks, including possession of stolen property over $5,000 and theft.

      Vancouver Police Department

      Over three weeks in November, the VPD conducted a project targeting shoplifters and arrested 25 suspects.

      Sgt. Roed stated that the VPD Christmas Crime Team was activated yesterday (December 10) in Downtown Vancouver to work with business associations about retail stores being targeted.

      Yesterday, the VPD announced that a 20-year-old male suspect with a knife was arrested for stealing liquor from a B.C. Liquor Store on Commercial Drive on December 6 while two suspects were arrested on December 8 for stealing clothing from a Lululemon store in Kitsilano. 

      Vancouver Police Department

      Elsewhere in the Lower Mainland, the West Vancouver Police Department and Coquitlam RCMP announced earlier today that they worked together after a November 6 break-in at a West Vancouver residence to recover $198,000 worth of stolen personal items and discovered on November 20 that the theft suspect had a sizeable quantity of stolen items hidden at his Port Coquitlam house. 

      Meanwhile, Delta police arrested two suspects after discovering a large stash of stolen property at a Ladner residence on December 2, ranging from various tools to machinery worth an approximate total of $140,000.

      In addition, Delta police also arrested two more suspects in a separate incident on November 30 for shoplifting approximately $1,800 worth of goods from Tsawwassen Mills Mall. 

      Back on November 1, Burnaby RCMP arrested a female suspect from Vancouver and a male suspect from Surrey who had been hiding numerous stolen items, ranging from camping gear and power tools to personal electronics, in an abandoned house in Burnaby.

      Vancouver Police Department