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Tech-savvy tourist helps nab thieves

Aug 17 2012

Victoria police say a techsaavy tourist led them to a cache of thousands of dollars of stolen goods and drugs in Esquimalt.

On Monday night, a 30-year-old woman from Lacombe, Alta., had her iPad and other items stolen during a break and enter in the 4300 block of Saanich Road, where she was staying with a friend. She reported the incident to Saanich police, who began an investigation.

The woman also activated the global positioning system software in her iPad, which led her and a friend to a suite in an apartment building in the 600 block of Admirals Road. She then called Victoria police.

Officers arrested four people in the suite and obtained a search warrant. They found a cache of suspected stolen goods - including cardboard boxes filled with credit cards, guitars, and large plastic tubs of laptops - worth thousands of dollars and three litres of gammahydroxybutyric acid, commonly known as GHB or the daterape drug.

"The amount of identity theft and credit-card fraud they could do with those credit cards is scary," said police spokesman Const.

Mike Russell.

Police believe the goods, estimated to be worth thousands of dollars, were taken during break and enters and thefts throughout Greater Victoria.

"The suite was a virtual department store of stolen property," said Sgt. Barrie Cockle in a statement. "The work by this tourist and our officers will put a signficant dent in property crimes throughout the CRD."

The two men, one from Esquimalt and one with no fixed address, and two women, one from Esquimalt and one from Saanich, are facing charges of possession of stolen property. Russell said further charges could be laid.

All four were held in custody on other outstanding charges.

Once the items from the apartment are catalogued, police will try to match them with reported stolen goods. Items that can't be matched to an owner will be posted on the department's Facebook site, but Russell said that could take several weeks.

Russell said it was the sixth time Victoria police have raided residences in the neighbourhood since March.

In May, Victoria police and the Greater Victoria Emergency Response Team arrested three people and raided two apartment suites on Constance Avenue. They seized heroin, meth, crack cocaine and $15,000 in cash.

Another operation netted nine people after police raided three Admirals Road suites on March 6 and April 18.

kderosa@timescolonist.com

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