Ridge Meadows RCMP crime analysts had identified an increase in theft from auto and theft of auto.

Ridge Meadows RCMP crime analysts had identified an increase in theft from auto and theft of auto.

Maple Ridge RCMP use bait car, catch ‘prolific offenders’

Street Enforcement Unit targets auto crime, makes two arrests

Using a bait car and other resources, RCMP took aim at the problem of theft of and from vehicles in Maple Ridge.

The Ridge Meadows RCMP Street Enforcement Unit has arrested two men identified as alleged Lower Mainland prolific offenders with the help of multiple integrated units, including local crime analysts, the Bait Car program, Air 1 helicopter and the Lower Mainland Integrated Police Dog Services.

Ridge Meadows RCMP crime analysts had identified an increase in theft from auto and theft of auto. In response, the street unit developed a plan to tackle the issue, which included the strategic use of a bait car.

The vehicle was deployed in a ‘hot spot,’ and within a few days, a car thief took the bait, but was able to evade police apprehension.

Review of the bait car video identified a well-known prolific offender as a suspect who had allegedly been committing crimes in multiple cities, said police.

On Friday, Sept. 28, at around noon, the street unit set up surveillance of the suspect. Coincidentally, during the surveillance process, an unrelated stolen truck from Mission rolled past the police officers.

The street unit responded by breaking into two groups, with half following the stolen truck and the rest waiting for the original suspect.

Air 1 was called in, establishing surveillance from the sky, and the stolen truck was tracked to Port Coquitlam. This allowed the street unit and the dog service to get into place and orchestrate a safe stop, where the driver was arrested.

The driver, 57-year-old Romeo Grimard, from Abbotsford, was arrested in Port Coquitlam without incident.

He is facing charges: three counts of failure to comply with probation order; breach of undertaking or recognizance; possession of stolen property over $5,000.

The other half of the team arrested Clayton Nielsen, 33, of Port Coquitlam, on a warrant from Coquitlam police.

He is facing new charges: theft of a motor vehicle; driving while prohibited; driving while unlicensed and onindefinite prohibition; three counts of breach of probation; and three counts of breach of undertaking or recognizance.

Both suspects were remanded in custody and have a scheduled court appearance for Oct. 10.

“This targeted enforcement works,” said Sgt. Scott Grimmer, who is in charge of the street unit.

“Because citizens took the time to report these crimes, our analysts identified target areas and we were able to focus our efforts. Since the arrest of these two prolific offenders, we have had a 61 per cent drop in auto crime compared to last week.”

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