In the beginning of January our officers were called to a local apartment building where two roommates were having trouble getting along. The original tenant had invited a “friend” to “couch surf” for a while but due to his propensity for hostility, and violence, he was no longer enjoying his company and wanted him out. According to the surfer though, the original invitation had soon became a subletting agreement and it was the original tenant who lacked any social skills. He claimed that money had exchanged hands for rent while the other denied it. He even produced some receipts.
The officers determined that there was a strong likelihood that this was a civil tenancy dispute and not really a police matter. They left after advising the two that they should work it out like adults. After all, the home is one’s castle and just who’s castle it was could not be determined at that time.
A few days later the police were called back to find that the original tenant had moved out and the surfer had changed the locks. The now moved out tenant just wanted to get some things, including his TV. The surfer claimed that the tenant owed him money and it quickly became confusing with no proof of ownership available for any of the items in question. Again, the two were told to work it out and they agreed.
Later, we received a call from the landlord of the building in question stating that they hadn't received any rent from the occupant of the suite in a month and some other person had moved in without permission. This was potentially a criminal matter so, again, we attended. This time the surfer produced a lease agreement with his name on it. The landlord was contacted but, due to the time of night, it was decided to try and work things out the next day. So, the surfer was left in place.
The next day police re-attended in an attempt to finally work things out but the surfer barricaded himself within the suite and refused to answer the door.
Now, some people may not understand or agree with this but the police do not move people out of homes unless it is absolutely clear that a criminal offence has, or is likely to, occur. We normally attend to ensure things remain peaceful while the civil process of eviction takes place and is carried out by others. Therefore, it was decided that further investigation should be undertaken to determine whether or not this was clearly a criminal matter and, if so, how things should proceed and remain peaceful. It was during this investigation that it was confirmed the lease agreement presented by the surfer earlier was falsified and no agreement to lease ever existed.
Meanwhile, and seemingly unrelated, another officer attended to a local pizzeria for a report of a break in. Upon arrival it was found that someone had broken into the business over night, disabled the CCTV camera’s, stolen some items, and then spread several large industrial sized bags of flour all over the place “causing quite a mess”.
Although the camera’s had been rendered inoperable, they have a habit of continuing to operate right up to the point that they stop. Therefore, the cameras clearly captured two males breaking in along with some “good face shots”. The pizza shop staff immediately recognized one of the two males as the surfer, who was a recently fired employee.
As police prepared the report to Crown Counsel, and an arrest warrant request for the surfer, the pizza shop staff called in to say that the surfer had just walked past the store and had gone into a business across the street. Members descended upon the area and, after a brief attempt to elude police, he was taken into custody rounding out his total of police interactions to 80.
It was about this time that information came to light that the surfer had started subletting the illegally occupied apartment to another male. Strangely enough, to one matching the description of the second male seen breaking into the pizza shop. In turn, it was learned that he was currently out and about with a large pink suitcase.
It should be noted here that you really cannot make this stuff up.
Sure enough, it was not long before an eagle eyed officer located a male pulling a large pink suitcase. It was, indeed, the second break and enter suspect. He was arrested and found to have an uncomfortably large knife stuffed down the front of his pants “for protection”… contrary to all four of his court ordered release documents from the lower mainland.
Members contacted the landlord to inform them that the apartment would probably be empty for quite some time now and they attended, took possession of the suite, and changed the locks.