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Boost and Bust project targeting shoplifters results in 20 arrests

Shoplifters at Pine Centre Mall were in for a surprise, and arrests, March 22-26 when the Prince George RCMP’s Downtown Safety Unit conducted a ‘Boost and Bust’ project.

The goal of this project was to target prolific thieves and shoplifters who cost the retail outlets thousands of dollars in lost revenue each month. Loss Prevention Officers who specialize in this type of targeted approach came from the Lower Mainland to assist police in their efforts. Investigators also targeted offenders who were breaching their court-ordered conditions not to attend Pine Centre Mall.

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 plain clothes.

In total, police created 19 files and arrested 20 people. Here is a breakdown of the types of charges forwarded to the B.C. Prosecution Service for charge approval:

  • 18 x Theft Under $5000
  • 3 x Breach of Conditions
  • 1 x Assault Police Officer

Police issued one 90-day Integrated Roadside Prohibition (IRP), which comes with a 30-day vehicle impoundment.

Of the 20 people that police arrested, three remained in-custody to attend court the next morning.

Investigators forwarded charges of theft under $5,000 and failing to comply with probation against 36-year-old Elliott Joseph, who pleaded guilty and received 30 days in jail. Police also forwarded charges against 34-year-old Tyler Sinclair of uttering threats, assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, obstructing a police officer and failing to comply with probation. He pleaded guilty and received 28 days in jail. Finally, police forwarded charges of theft under $5,000 and failing to comply with probation against 35-year-old Aaron Glover, whom the B.C. Prosecution Service released on bail pending a future court date.

Police are also forwarding two referrals to the Restorative Justice program, which operates under the umbrella of Community Policing with the Prince George RCMP. Restorative Justice is an alternative to the criminal justice system and aims to include everyone affected by a particular crime. It focuses on offender accountability, problem solving, and creating an equal voice for offenders, victims and the community.

“The Boost and Bust project was a great success and we look forward to launching this program with other businesses in Prince George,” said Const. Amrit Dhadwal of the Downtown Safety Unit. “The Downtown Safety Unit is committed to helping reduce the rate of shoplifting in our community.”

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