Lottery ticket helps break Greater Victoria crime spree

A stolen lottery ticket worth $42 helped police unravel an Esquimalt man’s car break-in crime spree across Greater Victoria.

A stolen lottery ticket worth $42 has helped police unravel an Esquimalt man’s region-wide theft from vehicle crime spree.

Regional Crime Unit officers arrested a 46-year-old man on on Feb. 21 around noon near his home in the 600-block of Grenville Avenue. Police found at least 100 pieces of stolen property in his residence, mainly electronic items like cellphones, iPods, cameras and GPS units.

As of Friday, officers have connected the stolen goods to 24 separate thefts from vehicles, including 12 from Saanich, and the remainder from Sooke, West Shore, Oak Bay, Central Saanich, and Sidney. In the first half of February, auto crime in Saanich alone spiked to 86 thefts from vehicles.

RCU investigators caught a break from a car break-in in the 1600-block of Ash Road near Mount Doug Park, from Feb. 12. The thief had stolen a Lotto Max ticket that the owner had photocopied, as it was part of a group purchase.

Armed with a serial number and due to the lucky fact the ticket was a $42 winner, the B.C. Lottery Corp. was able to pinpoint that it was cashed at a Chevron in Esquimalt, and from that, police started to zero in on a suspect through video footage.

RCU Staff Sgt. Gary Schenk said the gas station video wasn’t good enough to identify a suspect right way. But around the same time, a fingerprint from a different theft from vehicle case in Saanich produced a hit from the national fingerprint database – a real life CSI moment. The RCU had a name – Darin Hagel.

RCU officers soon realized this suspect had shown up in police surveillance of another offender under investigation in December. Between the gas station video and police surveillance footage, the RCU figured they had their man.

“In that (police) video he was wearing the same toque and vest as when he cashed that lottery ticket. In our business we call that a clue,” Schenk joked. “All combined, that allowed us to arrest him for the stolen lottery ticket.”

RCU officers have spent the past week cataloguing and returning stolen goods to their owners. Most are electronic items, but the latest was a distinctive cowboy hat taken from a vehicle in Saanich.

“It was one of those situations of good police work and good luck,” remarked Saanich police Sgt. Steve Eassie.

Schenk said since the Feb. 21 arrest, police have already seen a significant drop in thefts from autos in the region.

“He is definitely a good on to get off the street,” Schenk said. “And it gives officers tremendous job satisfaction returning stolen property.”

Darin Hagel, 46, is charged with 23 counts of theft, possession of stolen property, and mischief. He has a court hearing on March 14 and remains in custody.

Hagel was known to Greater Victoria police agencies for property crimes 10 or 15 years ago, but had lived in the Lower Mainland until recently, Schenk said. Hagel has an extensive criminal record in most Metro Vancouver cities.

The RCU is comprised of police officers from Saanich, Oak Bay, Central Saanich, West Shore RCMP and provincial RCMP.

editor@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

VicPd are asking for the public’s help in finding Camper, a lost pit bull who ran away after their owner’s van was reportedly attacked by a man with a hammer on June 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Edmonton man reportedly smashes van’s windows with hammer while woman and her dog inside

VicPD are asking for help to find Camper, the woman’s dog who ran away during the Friday incident

Red arrow shows the existing warehouse that is home to a variety of specialized equipment used by the Capital Region Emergency Services Telecommunications (CREST). The service provider is looking for a new home that will protect the equipment in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster. (Google Maps)
CREST telecoms look to find a post-seismic facility in Greater Victoria

The move will better protect equipment vital to its 50 emergency service clients across the CRD

(Black Press Media file photo)
FRESH AND LOCAL: Greater Victoria farm markets ready to greet shoppers

A list of markets on the go this spring and summer, right into fall

A client and a staff member embark on an art project at Oak Bay United Church. (Christine van Reewyk/News Staff)
VIDEO: Oak Bay group of adults with developmental disabilities promotes community inclusivity

Victoria Community Connections moved to Oak Bay late last year

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Most Read