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138 arrests made in 2-week shoplifting crackdown, Vancouver police say

Photo by CTV Vancouver's Pete Cline in Chopper 9 on Monday, June 4, 2018. Photo by CTV Vancouver's Pete Cline in Chopper 9 on Monday, June 4, 2018.

Vancouver police say they made 138 arrests and recovered nearly $37,000 in stolen merchandise over a two-week period in late April and early May.

Dubbed "Project Barcode 2," the shoplifting crackdown was a "continuation" of a three-week operation – Project Barcode – that took place in March, according to a Vancouver Police Department news release issued Tuesday.

The first operation saw VPD officers work closely with management, staff and security at stores throughout the city, with the goal of identifying and arresting chronic and violent offenders. 

Among the 217 arrests made during the March blitz were 47 repeat offenders, according to police.

This time around, 17 of the 138 arrests involved repeat offenders, the VPD said.

Between April 24 and May 9, police said, officers recommended 125 charges to Crown counsel as a result of Project Barcode 2.

The operation also resulted in the seizure of 12 weapons, mostly knives, and the recovery of $36,540.83 worth of stolen merchandise, police said.

"Our officers went undercover to detect and arrest the thieves targeting retailers in Vancouver," said Const. Tania Visintin in the release.

"Violence and retail crime is still a major concern in Vancouver."

After the first crackdown in March, police said shoplifting incidents involving violence in the city were down 45 per cent through the first three months of the year.

The latest arrests were announced on the same day the federal government introduced Bill C-48, which it describes as a series of targeted amendments to the Criminal Code aimed at addressing issues with the bail system. 

Most notably, the bill seeks to expand the "reverse onus" that requires people accused of certain crimes to demonstrate why they should be let out on bail, rather than requiring Crown prosecutors to convince the court that the accused should be held in custody until trial.

Shoplifting is not one of the crimes for which a reverse onus is being proposed, but the government is seeking to apply it to cases in which people previously convicted of serious violent crimes involving weapons are accused of new violent crimes within five years.

With files from's Rachel Aiello Top Stories

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