A pair of diamond thieves reportedly extended their nationwide crime spree to a Whistler jewelry store, according to employees of Keir Fine Jewellery.
“A series of events… have led us to believe Keir has been one of the victims of this very slick, well executed crime spree,” read a Facebook post from the store. “The arrests are part of a national investigation that we have been only too happy to participate in while at the same time saddened that our staff had to be exposed to it.”
Jewellers across Canada have been warned to check their stock for fake diamonds after an Ontario couple was charged last week in a brazen bait-and-switch that impacted stores from coast to coast.
Police arrested Grigori Zaharox, 70, and Natalia Feldman, 44, on Oct. 20 outside a Vaughn, Ont. condo complex. Wanted for an Oct. 7 theft at W. Smith and Co. Fine Jewellers in Saint John, N.B., the couple reportedly pretended to argue before switching a $10,000 diamond with a fake while the store clerk was distracted. Police told CTV the couple was wanted in “numerous other jurisdictions for similar incidents.”
Keir Fine Jewellery co-owner Nicole Shannon said the couple used similar “distraction tactics” at her store. She said staff first discovered the diamonds went missing this summer and employees “immediately recognized” the suspects once footage of the couple went public. Shannon would not say the value of the stolen goods. She has indicated to local police that she intends to press charges.
“We love this community and we’re saddened that it could happen here,” Shannon added. “We’re doing everything we can to ensure it doesn’t happen again and that this type of element isn’t drawn to our community.”
Suspect arrested in Whistler bike thefts
A man was arrested last week for the theft of two pricy bikes from an underground parking lot, police said.
On Oct. 17, Whistler RCMP received a report of a theft of a pair of bicycles that were locked in a van in the underground lot on Blackcomb Way. The caller told police a window had been smashed in order to gain access sometimes overnight on Oct. 16. The bikes have a combined value of $11,500, police said.
Using surveillance footage, Mounties were able to identify one of the suspects. An arrest warrant for the male was issued before he was arrested in Vancouver on Oct. 21.
Four held in custody until sobering up
Several intoxicated individuals were held in cells overnight last week until they were sober, police said.
Throughout the evening of Oct. 22 and into the following morning, officers lodged four people in cells “due to their level of intoxication: and “not having a sober person to care for them and for their safety,” Whistler RCMP said in a release.
The two females and two males were held until they were able to care for themselves, police said.
Also on Oct. 23, police conducting a roadblock in the area of Lorimer Road and Highway 99 stopped a driver who exhibited signs of drug impairment. The 20-year-old male was subsequently issued a 24-hour driving prohibition.
A 23-year-old male was also caught driving impaired at the same roadblock in the early hours of Oct. 23. The man was issued a 90-day driving prohibition and had his vehicle impounded for 30 days after failing a roadside-screening test.