Between 1 - 4 a.m., the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary responded to a series of calls, ranging from an attempted break-in of a vehicle and break and enters at two homes, to a car crash. The incidents culminated around noon in the arrest of a 24-year-old city man.
Const. Robert Edwards of the Corner Brook RNC told a news conference on Wednesday the incidents are believed to be random acts.
“The common denominator that we found in these incidents, as well as ones in the past, is insecure premises, insecure properties,” said Edwards. “This is showing that somebody was looking for opportunity and as a result these crimes were committed.”
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Taking the incidents in chronological order, Edwards said police first responded to a complaint of theft from a vehicle on Greenings Hill at 1:19 a.m.
A resident reported seeing someone attempting to go through their vehicle. The resident left their home and approached the person, who fled the area.
About an hour later, the RNC received a report of a break and entry in progress on King’s Road.
“It was reported the person had entered the home through an unlocked door (and) approached a resident inside the home,” Edwards said, adding no one in the home was threatened in any way and the suspect left on his own, but not before taking several items.
With two reports from the same west side neighbourhood, the RNC decided to call in its police dog service. The dog followed a track, which started at the point of the King’s Road break in, and continued down to Golden Glow Avenue.
At approximately 2:36 a.m., while on Golden Glow Avenue, officers were advised by a resident of that street that their home had recently been broken into and a number of personal items had been stolen. Residents of that home were also inside the dwelling at the time.
“The canine service continued to do a track, however at that point during the investigation no one was located,” said Edwards.
Shortly after the incident on Golden Glow Avenue, police received a complaint of a single-vehicle collision on Country Road at at 3:32 a.m. A 2012 Chevrolet Cobalt was reported to have left the road and struck and damaged a light pole.
“The vehicle overturned and upon police arrival at that call there was nobody in the area and the operator of the vehicle had left the accident scene,” said Edwards.
He said police then started backtracking their investigation to the registered owner of the vehicle, who lived on Winston Street. At around 4:14 a.m. this person confirmed that the car had been stolen prior to the collision.
Within an hour, police received a 911 call from the O’Connell Drive area of the city that reported an injured male.
“There was very little detail at that time how the injuries had occurred,” said Edwards. Upon arrival, however, it was determined the injuries the man had were consistent with the investigation into the accident on Country Road.
The man, who was found out in public, was taken to Western Memorial Regional Hospital where he was treated for serious injuries.
As the investigation unfolded, Edwards said forensic evidence collected at the accident scene and all the other crime scenes led police to conclude the young man was likely responsible for the string of crimes. The man was taken into police custody after he was released from hospital.
He’s been charged with two counts of break, enter and theft, theft under $5,000, theft over $5,000 (the vehicle), failing to remain at an accident scene, four counts of trespassing at night and possession of stolen property.
Edwards said the investigation is continuing and didn’t rule out other charges.
He said that there is currently no evidence to link Wednesday’s crimes to recent reports of thefts from vehicles in the Elizabeth Street and Pratt Street areas, but police would be reviewing those cases for any connections.
The suspect remains in custody and is expected to appear in provincial court today.