Is this your Rolex? Richmond Mounties recover $800K worth of luxury items
Published Thursday, January 10, 2019 2:00PM PST
Last Updated Thursday, January 10, 2019 7:11PM PST
Mounties in Richmond, B.C. say they've recovered a "truly staggering" number of luxury goods and other items they believe were stolen predominantly from empty homes.
The investigation kicked into high gear when members of the RCMP's Property Crime Unit saw a suspect allegedly breaking into a home in the 5000 block of Cornwall Street on Dec. 5.
After police arrested the man, investigators executed four search warrants, including one at a home in the 8000 block of General Currie Road. The others were carried out at storage lockers on Riverside Way, Sea Island Way and one on East Kent Avenue North in Vancouver.
During those searches, officers found more than 1,000 luxury items as well as power tools, household goods, electronics and collectibles.
These included Swiss watches, high-end designer handbags and shoes as well as electronics and even top-shelf spirits.
"Jewellery, musical instruments, power tools, sporting goods, and several swords were also recovered," police said in a statement.
A couple of Hermes bags recovered by police are worth $10,000 each and a bottle of Petrus found during the search is valued at a whopping $3,000.
Images of the cache showed several Rolexes each valued in the thousands.
One undercover officer told CTV News the investigation took an exceptional amount of work to pull off.
"We deployed a number of investigative techniques… including doing different types of surveillance, but there was a lot of paperwork as well," said the officer, adding that the probe required "working long hours, especially during the early Christmas period," with some members unable spend time with their families.
Mounties allege most of the items were taken from homes targeted for having absentee owners. Others were left badly rattled by the thefts.
"They're just items," RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Dennis Hwang said. "They've lost their own valuables, they've been violated with someone entering their home. Their sense of security might be compromised because of it."
Aaron James Young was released on bail on Dec. 6 and arrested again less than two weeks later after a plainclothes officer observed him allegedly casing residences.
The 42-year-old is facing 15 charges including 10 counts of break and enter, one count of assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of using a disguise with the intent to commit an indictable offence and two counts of possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000.
Police said Young remains in custody and could face additional charges. Mounties say expect to make more arrests and recommend charges against additional suspects in connection with this case, saying they believe the items were likely slated for fencing online.
Those who believe any of the allegedly stolen items belong to them are asked to contact the Richmond RCMP’s property crimes unit.
Mounties added they’ve been unable to notify some theft victims as they live overseas and investigators can’t find any contact information associated with their Richmond homes.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Penny Daflos