Vancouver Police, with the help of the Surrey RCMP, have arrested three people for allegedly buying and selling large quantities of stolen property.

In August and September of 2015, the VPD Anti-Fencing Unit acted on information police received regarding the owners of a convenience store on King George Boulevard in Surrey and that the business was merely a front for a fencing operation. It was alleged that large quantities of property, stolen in Vancouver, was being bought, sold, and ordered at this business.

The operation functioned as a “predatory fence,” purchasing property from drug addicts who were stealing to support their habit. It was also a “distribution fence,” purchasing stolen property from known professional thieves and organized retail crime groups. The stolen goods were then resold to other retailers, sent overseas, or further distributed at flea markets.

Investigators executed search warrants at the business, as well as two residences, all located in Surrey. Police seized $10,000 in cash and well over $100,000 in stolen property. A Mercedes Benz believed to have been used to transport the stolen goods was also seized as offence-related property. Among the stolen property, officers found over-the-counter medications that police believe were being resold to manufactures producing methamphetamine in local clandestine labs.

The two women and one man arrested, ranging in age from 49 to 61, are all well known to police and have been released pending further investigation and charge approval.

“Criminals do not recognize city boundaries,” says VPD Inspector Earl Andersen. “Police agencies will continue to work together on crime committed by chronic and prolific offenders that directly affect and cause an incredible amount of harm to our communities, and enormous losses for legitimate businesses.”

The volume of property seized and observed would suggest that hundreds of crimes were being committed every month to fuel this illicit business. The cost of theft is passed directly on to honest consumers, and buyers who support these black market operations are driving up retail prices.

Anyone with information of an underground operation fencing stolen property, sometimes referred to as a “hot house,” is asked to call the Vancouver Police Anti-Fencing Unit at (604) 717-3220. Tipsters can also call Crime Stoppers at 1 (800) 222-8477 or download their mobile App at the Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers website.