Saanich police arrest eight shoplifters linked to tent city in two days
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, July 13, 2018 11:07AM PDT
Saanich police say in the span of just two days, they've arrested eight people associated with a growing tent city for shoplifting.
Police said they've been receiving tips over the last few weeks that indicated a large amount of thefts were taking place at businesses near the Regina Park encampment.
That led them to deploy plainclothes officers to the businesses on July 11 and 12, which resulted in the arrests of nine people for shoplifting. Of those nine, eight are known to be from the Regina Park tent city and police even found a District of Saanich Notice of Eviction on one of the suspects.
Police say over the two days, items stolen included electronics, clothing, chocolate bars, sunglasses and batteries.
In addition to being arrested for shoplifting, suspects were also arrested for breaching conditions, mischief and resisting arrest.
Police are calling on businesses and individuals to report any suspicious activity to them as they say some people just aren't bothering.
"This could be for a variety of reasons however one thing that we’re hearing repeatedly is that they don’t want to bother the police, or what can the police do about it anyway," said Saanich police spokesman Sgt. Jereme Leslie. "We want people to know that we’re here to keep them safe, prevent crime from happening and solve crime. If we don’t know about issues that are happening then it’s difficult to allocate our officers appropriately.”
News of the arrests comes a day after the District of Saanich served residents of the encampment with cease occupation notices.
Saanich city council amended its overnight camping bylaws so that residents of the tent city can only set up tents daily between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m., at which time they must take their belongings and move on.