The BC Civil Forfeiture Office has netted $102,000 following an investigation by Surrey RCMP’s Property Crime Target Team.
Surrey RCMP Corporal Elenore Sturko said it involved “an in-depth investigation into the sale of stolen merchandise on online marketplaces.”
She said Alan Smith and Kimberley Gascon have both been charged with theft under $5,000 and Smith is also charged with possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000, assaulting a peace officer, obstructing a peace officer and trafficking in property obtained by crime. They are both awaiting trial.
Search warrants were executed on a condominium in Surrey and a rented storage unit in Maple Ridge.
Sturko said the investigation began in March 2017 and investigators identified and arrested two people “who were allegedly stealing select branded merchandise from multiple clothing stores and then allegedly selling the stolen merchandise online.”
She said about $122,000 in merchandise was recovered and the condominium and a vehicle “believed to be used to transport” the goods were forfeited, to the tune of $102,000.
Sturko noted the “vast majority” of cases pursued by the CFO are linked to drugs, gangs and organized crime.
Staff Sergeant Mike Hall said that “seizure of offence-related property is an excellent tool for police to remove the profit incentive for organized criminal networks to commit offences in our communities.”
Mike Farnworth, B.C.’s minister of public safety and solicitor general, said the “scale of this particular forfeiture should serve as a warning to those pursuing similar activities in Surrey.
“Civil forfeiture complements police efforts to curb significant property criminals in their communities and ensure people feel safe in their homes,” he said.