A worker patches the drywall in a vacant Uptown retail space next to the Telus store Tuesday around noon

A worker patches the drywall in a vacant Uptown retail space next to the Telus store Tuesday around noon

Cellphone stores targeted in sophisticated heists

Saanich police investigators suspect thieves were targeting the new BlackBerry 10 mobile phone during two well-planned break-ins this week.

Saanich police investigators suspect thieves were targeting the new BlackBerry 10 mobile phone during two well-planned break-ins this week.

A thief or thieves broke into a Rogers Wireless store on Quadra Street early Monday morning and then a Telus Mobility store at Uptown early Tuesday morning. In both cases, the suspects entered the stores by cutting through drywall from a vacant next door retail space.

“We believe they’re related,” said Victoria police Const. Mike Russell. “We’re working closely with Saanich PD, see if we can put two and two together.”

In the case of the Rogers Wireless store, Victoria investigators are trying to determine what, if anything, was stolen. Police described the store as being in a state of disarray when employees arrived in the morning.

At Uptown at 3 a.m. on Tuesday, Saanich officers responded to an alarm at the Telus store, and eventually discovered that someone cut through a wall leading into the rear staff office.

While in the empty retail space, the suspect drilled a number of test holes in the wall and then cut open an access with a knife, said Saanich police Sgt. Steve Eassie. The vacant space was broken into but wasn’t alarmed.

Around noon on Tuesday, a worker could be seen patching a rectangular, door-sized hole in the shop beside Telus. Police say nothing was stolen from the Telus store, likely due to the audible alarm that was tripped from a motion sensor.

Eassie said the Rogers and Telus break-ins coincide with the highly publicized release of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry 10, and are similar to the break-in at WestWorld Computers in September last year, around the time when Apple released its iPhone 5.

On Sept. 24, 2012, thieves stole $40,000 of Apple products from WestWorld by disabling the alarm system and breaking through the wall from an empty adjacent store. A day earlier, the now-closed Best Buy at Uptown was broken into and its security system had been tampered with.

“It looks like there is a correlation between the release dates of the iPhone 5 and the BlackBerry 10,” Eassie said. “This type of incident is not a random act. It’s not a crime of opportunity. These are well-planned premeditated incidents.”

No one was caught for the WestWorld theft, and Eassie said it was a struggle for investigators to get serial numbers of stolen items. He couldn’t say if any of the stolen goods had popped up on online sites such as Craigslist or EBay, but he suspects the gear was moved out of the city.

“The reality is this is a well organized group or individual. It’s highly unlikely (the stolen goods) were on the market here in Greater Victoria.”

Saanich and Victoria investigators are waiting to get surveillance video from the respective stores from this week’s break-ins.

Anyone with information on these incidents can call VicPD on the non-emergency line of 250-995-7654, the Saanich police at 250-475-4321 or report anonymously with Crime Stoppers  at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

-with files from Dan Palmer

editor@saanichnews.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Colin Springford doing what he loved best, tending to his garden. (Linda Matteson photo)
Longtime farmer Colin Springford dies at age 75

‘He will be deeply missed, always loved and never forgotten’

Saanich has awarded the tender for a youth bike skills park planned for the lot next to the George Tripp BC Hydro Substation off Lochside Drive to Bike Track Ltd. for $242,000. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich selects company to build youth bike skills track at Tripp Station Park

More than $240,000 allotted for Bike Track Ltd. to design bike park

An architectural rendering provides a look at PC Urban’s proposal for three buildings on the former Galaxy Motors property at 1764 Island Hwy. in Colwood. (Rendering courtesy of PC Urban)
Commercial/industrial development planned for former Galaxy Motors site

Colwood proposal goes to public hearing Jan. 25

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Vancouver Island paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

Most Read