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Locker-room bandit strikes, grabbing wallets, cellphones and car keys

Jan 31 2012

A set of unattended keys to the locker room of the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre led an opportunistic thief to a trove of items, including wallets, cellphones and car keys, which he used to steal a car.

It happened Sunday night between 5:15 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. when a power-skating team was practising, said Victoria police spokesman Const. Mike Russell.

A man snuck off with a set of keys left on a bench in the area and rifled through the skaters’ items in the change room.

He took wallets with ID and cash, a laptop, iPods and several sets of keys, Russell said.

The man used the keys to steal items from two cars and then stole a third vehicle, a 2009 Ford Escape SUV.

“It’s pretty brazen,” Russell said. “To go into the change room and rifle through everything, that’s certainly something we don’t see a lot.”

Officers found the car in the 1400-block of Store Street Sunday night and towed it back to the police station for forensic examination. It has since been returned to the owner.

Investigators are working with the arena to review the surveillance footage in hopes of identifying the man.

Some of the skaters later recalled a man who looked out of place but didn’t know if he was a staff member of the area.

The suspect is described as a white man, clean-shaven between five-foot-eight and five-foot-nine, between 250 and 300 pounds. He was balding with receding red or sandy-blond hair. He was wearing a black nylon jacket.

Anyone with information should call Victoria police at 250-995-7654.

kderosa@timescolonist.com