A man believed responsible for a series of armed robberies of businesses in Vancouver, Burnaby and on the North Shore is now in custody in the United States.
Vancouver Police, along with West Vancouver Police and the Burnaby and North Vancouver RCMP, issued a public appeal for information on December 13th, following eight robberies of neighbourhood grocery stores they believed were committed by the same man. Investigators received many tips, leading them to a Squamish resident they suspected might be the man they were looking for.
On December 21st, the investigators were contacted by U.S. authorities. They had the 68 year old suspect from Squamish in custody. He had been arrested by border officials on December 15th while trying to cross into the United States on an outstanding U.S. warrant from 1972 relating to allegations of desertion from the U.S. Air Force.
When the U.S. authorities and Canada’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team (INSET) began looking into the man’s background, they discovered the man in custody had been living in Canada under an assumed name and that he was being investigated by multiple police agencies in the Lower Mainland for the armed robberies.
Thomas John Schwartz, also known as Tom Stone, has been charged with robbery and weapons related offences. The investigation is continuing and additional charges are expected.
Schwartz, a citizen of the United States, remains in custody in the U.S. pending his extradition hearing scheduled for March 11th, 2013.