Police investigate links to home invasions after arrest

Port Alberni RCMP are examining links to other seniors home invasions after the recent arrest of a 41-year old man.

  • Apr. 16, 2012 6:00 a.m.

Port Alberni RCMP are closely examining the recent arrest of a man who broke into the house of a 73-year old woman.

The incident is similar to break ins in other seniors homes in recent months, including the one which resulted in the death of Mervin Hankins, 75, in January.

According to an RCMP press release, on April 11, a 73-year old woman was working in the front yard of her house on Leslie Avenue. When she went back in her house she noticed her purse on the stairs. She went inside and discovered that some of her belongings had been stolen.

She called police, who got a description of the suspect from the woman’s neighbours.

Police spotted a man matching the description at Leslie Avenue and Johnston Road an hour later and arrested him in Roger Creek Park after a short chase. The man was found in possession of a cache of stolen property “…that linked him to this incident and numerous other thefts in the community,” the release noted.

Port Alberni resident Channon Paul Coulter, 41, is charged with one count of break and enter and further charges are being recommended.

Coulter was remanded into custody until April 26.

The nature of the incident and age of the victim is similar to home invasion incidents involving other Alberni seniors and police are working to determine if there are any links to them, the release noted.

On Jan.10, 83-year-old Reino Koivunen was robbed in his home.

On Jan. 24, 84-year old Ed Schutte was pushed down to the floor, had a knife held to his throat and was robbed in his residence. Police said later that two 50 cent coins were stolen in the robbery.

The most serious incident, however, occurred on On Jan. 13 when, Mervin Hankins, 75 was found dead in his Fourth Avenue home.

No one was arrested in the incidents and the investigations are ongoing, police say.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com