Police arrested one of their "most wanted" break-and-enter suspects and seized a large quantity of stolen property, according to an announcement from the Burnaby RCMP Friday.
The Vancouver Police Department, in partnership with the Burnaby RCMP Break and Enter Task Force, arrested the suspect, Michael Jonathan Mickelson, 38, on Feb. 15. He is currently in custody and has a court date set for March 5.
Residential break and enters doubled during December and January, and the Burnaby RCMP say it's the act of a few criminals - not many.
"The arrest of a suspect last week who was regarded as one of the most prolific break-and-enter offenders in Burnaby, is a major step forward in solving a large number of offences in Burnaby and surrounding areas," Cpl. David Reid stated in a media release.
Police say Mickelson was formerly known to police, with 25 convictions related to property crime.
The Surrey resident tried to resist arrest, and fled by car and foot, according to the RCMP. He was last released from custody in October and police had since kept an eye on him.
"We know when an individual like that comes out we need to keep an eye on him," said Sgt. Andy LeClair, of the RCMP's community program operations, at a press conference.
Hundreds of pieces of stolen property were seized after police executed warrants following the Surrey man's arrest.
Police are now asking for the public's help in identifying the mountain of stolen property now in its hands.
Change, necklaces, charms, watches, jewelry boxes and laptops are among some of the stolen items from the break-and-enter victims across Burnaby and Vancouver, which covered a table in the Burnaby RCMP main detachment during the conference.
"We want this property to be returned to its rightful owners," LeClair said.
Although the RCMP do not have a figure on the value of all the property the suspect stole, LeClair says it could be in the five figures.
"When you have an active property crime offender on the run, it's not (impossible) to get into the realm of $100,000s," he said.
Mickelson allegedly preyed on homes and apartment buildings in Burnaby and Vancouver, and possibly other suburbs as well, according to LeClair.
Police showed video of the suspect breaking into a South Burnaby apartment building waiting to get through the front door, pretending to speak on his cell phone until finally breaking the glass and getting in using a screwdriver.
The suspect was known to enter apartment buildings and target laundry machines for their change, and would then move on to suites, as well.
The RCMP has also called on citizens to exercise better judgment when allowing people into their apartment buildings.
"What we need the public to do is be guardians of that front door," LeClair said. "Don't let someone in who doesn't live there ... even if they look innocent. The innocent (looking) ones are doing the most damage."
LeClair says to use caution, avoid confrontation and ask anyone at their apartment building's front door to be buzzed in or use their own key.
Those interested in seeing if their property is amongst the stolen items in police custody can view them at www.burnaby.rcmp.ca.
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