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Initiative to curb shoplifting leads to 20 arrests in one week by Prince George RCMP

Charges included theft under $5,000, assault of a police officer
Pine Centre Mall. | Facebook/Pine Centre Mall

A Prince George RCMP project earlier this month, which included the help of out-of-town officers, resulted in 20 people arrested in a span of five days.

According to Mounties, several charges related to theft were approved between March 22 and 26 during a ‘Boost and Bust’ initiative that targeted thieves and shoplifters at local businesses in the Pine Centre Mall.

In a statement, RCMP spokesperson Cst. Jennifer Cooper says, each month, prolific offenders cost retail outlets thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

“Loss Prevention Officers who specialize in this type of targeted approach came from the Lower Mainland to assist police in their efforts,” she said.

“The project utilized four police officers and ran for five full days. Two members patrolled in the mall in covert uniforms while two members remained outside of the mall in more subtle uniforms or plainclothes.”

The result of the project led to the 20 arrests, as well as 19 files created, some of whom were breaching court-ordered conditions that included not attending the Pine Centre Mall.

The B.C. Prosecution Service approved the following charges:

  • 18 = Theft Under $5,000
  • Three = Breach of Conditions
  • One = Assault Police Officer

Police say three people remained in custody and attended court the next morning as a result of their approved charges:

  • Elliott Joseph
    • Age 36
    • Theft Under $5,000 and Fail to Comply with Probation
    • 30-day jail sentence after pleading guilty
  • Tyler Sinclair
    • Age 34
    • Uttering Threats, Assaulting a Police Officer, Resisting Arrest, Obstructing a Police Officer and Failing to Comply with Probation
    • 28-day jail sentence after pleading guilty
  • Aaron Glover
    • Age 35
    • Theft Under $5,000 and Fail to Comply with Probation 
    • Released on bail pending a future court date

“The Boost and Bust project was a great success and we look forward to launching this program with other businesses in Prince George,” says RCMP Downtown Safety Unit spokesperson Cst. Amrit Dhadwal. 

“The Downtown Safety Unit is committed to helping reduce the rate of shoplifting in our community.”

During the project, police also issued a 90-day Integrated Roadside Prohibition (IRP), which comes with a 30-day vehicle impoundment.

Prince George Mounties are currently forwarding two referrals to the Restorative Justice program, which operates under local Community Policing.

Police say it’s an alternative to the criminal justice system and aims to include everyone affected by a particular crime.