Vancouver, BC – An alleged member of a small, sophisticated group of thieves who have been targeting local hospitals was arrested thanks to the vigilance of hospital staff.
“It was a pretty significant arrest,” says Ross Maguire of Integrated Protection Services (IPS), which supports security operations at all four Lower Mainland health authorities. “The suspect has 52 outstanding offences, including a Canada-wide warrant, while the other two persons of interest are well-known to police.”
An internal investigation found that group members were targeting staff ID cards, hospital-issued clothing and keys, and other valuables left in public areas. They tried to avoid suspicion by wearing scrubs and stolen ID, and visiting the facilities at different times and days.
In some cases, the thieves would return after the original theft to access restricted areas, while other times they would pose as contractors to target vending machines. Although staff noticed the primary suspect acting suspiciously near their work stations on several occasions, he was able to elude security and police until his arrest on June 2.
Although IPS alerted staff and heightened their security presence and patrols to catch the thieves, Maguire says patients and visitors also play a role in ensuring a facility remains safe. “Criminals can be cunning when it comes to finding ways to steal,” he says. “Sometimes it’s easy to forget that health care facilities are public places, but we just want to remind the public that if they see something suspicious in hospital, please report it to a staff member or security.”
VCH is responsible for the delivery of $3.4 billion in community, hospital and residential care to more than one million people in communities including Richmond, Vancouver, the North Shore, Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky corridor, Powell River, Bella Bella and Bella Coola.
Public Affairs Officer
Vancouver Coastal Health