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Man accused of leaving bag with drugs, loaded handgun at Burnaby mall denied bail

Ryan Matthew Christensen, 32, was arrested on New Year's Day last year after a Metrotown mall security guard found an unattended bag with fentanyl, cocaine, meth and a loaded handgun in it.

The following is a report about a bail hearing, which means the alleged facts discussed have not yet been proven in court.

A 32-year-old Vancouver man accused of leaving a backpack with drugs and a loaded handgun in it on a table at Burnaby’s Metrotown mall has been denied bail.

Ryan Matthew Christensen was at a bail hearing in Vancouver provincial court Tuesday.

He has been charged in connection with an incident at Metropolis at Metrotown on Jan. 1, 2022.

At about 12:15 p.m. that day, a mall security officer was called to investigate an unattended bag at a table outside a café at the mall, according to alleged facts outlined by Crown prosecutor Graham Hutchings.

When the security officer opened the bag, he located what he thought were drugs and a handgun and called police.

Burnaby RCMP determined the handgun was loaded, with a bullet in the chamber, and the backpack contained more than 81 grams of fentanyl mixed with benzodiazepine, more than 78 grams of cocaine mixed with phenacetin and more than 56 grams of methamphetamine, according to Hutchings.

“Security footage of the area was used to identify the suspected owner of the backpack,” Hutchings said. “An unknown male had entered the mall with a backpack, put it down on the table and then left after a few minutes. Metrotown security were able to establish continuity of the unknown male via mall security cameras. The live footage shows the man returning from a Samsung store.”

Officers were there to arrest the man, who turned out to be Christensen, according to Hutchings.

Christensen has missed multiple court dates for charges related to this incident and to another incident in Vancouver in June 2020, when he was allegedly caught in possession of a prohibited weapon.

Crown prosecutors for both cases argued Christensen should be kept in jail until his charges are dealt with because of the risk he wouldn’t show up for court otherwise.

B.C. provincial court Judge James Sutherland agreed.

He noted Christensen had spent a year and nine months wanted on bench warrants for not showing up for court dates.

“What’s particularly aggravating is the number of bench warrants and the span of them,” Sutherland said.

He rejected Christensen's bail application.

Christensen’s next court date is scheduled for May 9.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor