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Island man confesses to 34 Nanaimo break-ins

Oct 17 2012

A former Victoria resident and career criminal has confessed to breaking into 34 homes in Nanaimo during the past year.

A 45-year-old man with a crack addiction who police will only refer to by his first name, Michael, has walked investigators through 34 break-ins he said he committed from September 2011 to May 2012.

Over 25 years, the middle-aged man has been convicted of 27 criminal offences and has spent more than a decade in jail, said Nanaimo RCMP Const. Gary O'Brien.

The man's crimes include theft, breaking and entering, possession of drugs and stolen property and assault.

"Michael is well known to RCMP detachments on Vancouver Island and in the Victoria area," O'Brien said, in a statement. "Michael has struggled with his addiction most of his adult life. When the drug gets the better of him, he reverts back to a life of crime and usually ends up in jail."

He is currently in jail, undergoing counselling for his addiction to crack cocaine.

Investigators will attempt to reach all his victims to let them know the thief is in jail. However, recovering items that have been sold once or even several times is unlikely, O'Brien told the Times Colonist.

The man told police he would walk, take the bus or ride his bike to residences, where he would then take small items - electronics, liquor and passports - and sell them within an hour for cash or drugs.

The break-ins were always during the day and were usually planned. He would survey homes to observe the comings and goings of people who lived in them. He also checked out businesses for alarms, entrances and hiding spaces.

The RCMP hope the story will serve as a reminder to the public on how they can protect their homes and belongings.

O'Brien said people can maintain their property, so a potential thief knows the homeowner is diligent, by using environmental design. Fences, rocks and shrubs help define and enclose a property. Securing doors and windows and other potential entry points, and locking up or storing valuables, are also simple ways to keep a property safe.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

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