Couple kicked out of home 2 weeks before jewelry store heist
Published Friday, September 15, 2017 1:30PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, September 22, 2017 4:48PM PDT
Details are emerging about the lead-up to a crime spree that began with a jewelry heist and ended in a deadly crash hundreds of kilometres away near Hope, B.C.
CTV News has learned Danielle Charlton and Anthony Cortez, a man identified on Facebook as her fiancé, were living at a home in Surrey on-and-off over the last month until the homeowner decided to send them away.
"They stayed here because I tried to help them," said Bill, who asked that he only be identified by his first name.
"Unfortunately I had to kick them out two weeks ago because they just weren't coming around."
On Wednesday, the same home was surrounded by police cars. It's unclear what officers were looking for or what evidence might have been collected.
Charlton was killed in an accident on Highway 3 Monday afternoon, and sources told CTV News police asked them about Cortez's whereabouts in the aftermath. Authorities have not said he is a suspect in the crime spree, only that they have identified a man they believe is involved.
"It's a really sad situation," Bill said.
The spree started with an early morning smash-and-grab theft at a jewelry store in Nelson. Charlton is suspected of serving as lookout while a man broke through the front door and shattered a number of display cases. The value of the pilfered jewelry and damage done to the store is estimated at $30,000.
The pair left town in a stolen SUV, which plowed into a maintenance vehicle hours later outside Hope. The driver fled the scene while Charlton was being tended to by Good Samaritans.
Witnesses said he escaped by stealing a B.C. wildfire crew truck.
The vehicle was recovered the same day but there was no sign of the suspect, who remains on the loose. In the meantime, friends say Cortez has vanished.
Police have said they will only publicly release their suspect's name once charges are approved.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Allison Tanner