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Port Alberni man arrested in break-in

Apr 15 2012

Port Alberni RCMP arrested a man who broke into the home of a 73-year-old woman and are looking for links to other recent home invasions involving seniors, including one that ended in a homicide.

On Wednesday afternoon, the 73-year-old woman was gardening in the front yard of her Leslie Avenue home. When she went inside, she noticed her purse was out of place. She discovered that someone has broken into her home and stolen some valuables, said RCMP spokeswoman Cpl.

Jen Allan.

The woman called police, who were able to get a description of the thief from neighbours. An hour later, a suspect was spotted nearby. When he was told to stop, he fled on his bike. Officers chased him on foot and caught him in Roger Creek Park. The man had in his possession several stolen items that linked him to several break-ins, Allan said.

Channon Paul Coulter, 41, of Port Alberni, is charged with one count of break and enter. Coulter was remanded into custody until April 26.

Police are trying to determine whether the man is also responsible for other home invasions involving seniors, Allan said.

The most serious incident was on Jan. 13, when 75-year-old Mervin Hankins was killed during a robbery.

Another elderly man was assaulted and robbed in his home on Jan. 8.

On Jan. 24, an 84-year-old man opened his door for a stranger, only to be pushed to the ground.

The robber stole several items, including the victim's wallet from his back pocket. kderosa@timescolonist.com

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