The Port Alberni RCMP has arrested 2 men at the core of an extensive property crime scheme that victimized owners from across Vancouver Island. Both suspects have extensive histories of property theft, and are well known to police in the Island region. Over the past 2 weeks this criminal group is alleged to have committed truck thefts, break-ins, vandalism, and possessed stolen property in multiple Island jurisdictions including Port Alberni, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Campbell River, Nanaimo, and Victoria. While the tally is climbing as the investigation unfolds, investigators indicate that the total loss and damage resulting from these incidents is currently estimated at over $400,000.
Port Alberni Serious Crime investigators networked with officers from all of the victimized jurisdictions as they pieced together the information that lead to the identification of the 2 local men and key players in this theft ring. Local Forensic Identification Officers worked fervently in obtaining the physical evidence needed to firm up the grounds for the criminal charges. Assistance was provided by RCMP helicopter Air8 from the Comox area, and the Port Alberni RCMP Police Dog Services as both units tracked several of the stolen trucks in this matter.
On May 9th, 2015, Port Alberni RCMP arrested 19 year old Craig James Donnelly Hannon of Port Alberni for his role in the operation. He was released from custody on May 7th, 2015, after serving a sentence for several truck thefts in an unrelated investigation. He is currently charged with 2 counts of Theft of a Motor Vehicle, and 3 counts of Possession of Stolen Property over $5,000. He has been remanded in custody and will appear in Port Alberni Provincial Court on May 20th, 2015.
On May 13th, 2015, Port Alberni RCMP arrested 26 year old Sheldon James Johanson of Port Alberni. He was arrested at a residence on Maebelle Road shortly after fleeing from police on a motorcycle on Wadena Road where he was spotted shortly before 5pm yesterday. Johanson is currently charged with 1 count of Flight from Police, and additional charges are before Crown Counsel for review. Johanson has been remanded into custody until May 20, 2015, when he will make his next appearance.
Additional arrests and charges are expected in this matter as police continue to comb through evidence and speak with victims and witnesses. “This rash of property crimes have been the subject of our intense focus in recent weeks, and it is rewarding to see an integrated effort result in the arrest of 2 men we believe responsible”, said Inspector Mac Richards of the Port Alberni Detachment. “Our Serious Crime, General Duty, and Forensic Identification teams worked around the clock to get what was needed to put an end to the victimization – it is a good day for all involved”, he said.