(Police handout/Kamloops RCMP)

(Police handout/Kamloops RCMP)

B.C. man dies in custody awaiting trial for Valentine’s Day robbery, kidnapping spree

Robert James Rennie, who was on the Kamloops RCMP’s most wanted list, passed away at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Coquitlam

  • Apr. 17, 2021 8:00 a.m.

-Kamloops This Week

A man charged in connection with Valentine’s Day robbery and kidnapping spree in Kamloops in 2019 has died in custody, while awaiting trial. Kamloops This Week has learned that Robert James Rennie, who was on the Kamloops RCMP’s most wanted list, passed away at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Coquitlam on March 12.

Rennie, 33, had a bail hearing the day before his death, which was adjourned. The charges against him were stayed by the Crown on the afternoon of March 12.

Both the BC Coroner’s Service and BC Corrections confirmed a death occurred at the facility on March 12, but did not confirm the person’s identity, citing privacy reasons. Another source confirmed to KTW the deceased was, in fact, Rennie.

While they would not confirm the identity, BC Corrections and BC Coroners said they are investigating the March 12 death.

“BC Corrections is investigating and will complete a review of the circumstances,” a spokesperson for BC Corrections told KTW in an email.

The spokesperson said the coroners service is also investigating “as they do in all unexpected and/or unnatural deaths” and look to determine how, where, when and by what means the individual came to their death. It is not clear at this time how Rennie died.

“As this is an open investigation, we are unable to provide any additional information,” a BC Coroners spokesperson told KTW via email.

Rennie had been on the lam for nearly a year when he was arrested by Vancouver Police during a 2 a.m. traffic stop on March 1. He was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for charges of armed robbery with a firearm, forcible confinement and an assault causing bodily harm — all stemming from the Valentine’s Day incident in 2019. Rennie was one of three men arrested in connection with a series of incidents, involving robbery, kidnapping and assault, spanning between Feb.13 and Feb. 14.

The other two men — Michael Mathieson and Justin Daniels — have since been sentenced.

Mathieson, 38, is serving six-and-a-half years in a federal prison, while Daniels, 40, pleaded guilty last August and was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in a federal penitentiary.

The robbery and kidnapping took place in the midst of a violent gang war and involved people active in the Kamloops drug trade. Police stumbled upon the kidnapping in progress in the early-morning hours of Feb. 14, 2019, while monitoring a wiretap as part of a separate, ongoing investigation. The violent spree began hours earlier, when a man was beaten and robbed inside a suite at a Sahali motel.

That was followed by a visit to a downtown motel, where assailants held a couple against their will and lured an acquaintance to the scene with the promise of money. The target arrived with his girlfriend and another man and both men were robbed, with the woman taken against her will to Kelowna. There, she she was handed over to a driver to be taken back to Kamloops and, on the drive back, she was rescued by police during a high-risk traffic stop in Falkland.

Mathieson, Rennie and Daniels were arrested separately on three different days later that month.

Rennie, who had obtained bail following his arrest, fled from a halfway house in April 2020 and failed to show up for his trial last September, before being apprehended this past March.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

crime

Just Posted

The Greater Victoria School District continues to face backlash over its wording and approach to Indigenous learners in its 2021-2022 budget talks. (Black Press Media file photo)
School district’s approach to Indigenous learners leaves Victoria teachers ‘disgusted’

Backlash grows over ‘pattern of colonial thinking permeating the leadership’

Commonwealth Place recreation centre was shut down before 8 a.m. on Friday following a power outage. (Saanich Parks, Recreation and Community Services/Twitter)
Saanich Commonwealth Place closed due to power outage, outdoor classes still running

Indoor classes, programs at pool and weight room halted

Royal Bay Secondary School students paint the crosswalk in front of their school in support of LGBTQ and marginalized members of the community (Royal Bay Secondary School photo)
Senior student leaves mark at Royal Bay Secondary School for LGBTQ+ students

Crosswalk at Colwood school painted in support of marginalized community members

An elderly man having a medical emergency in Mount Douglas Park on May 13 was rescued by firefighters and paramedics with the help of ATVs. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Rescue team uses ATVs to get man in medical distress out of Saanich park and to hospital

Cedarhill Road closed as firefighters, paramedics rescue man in Mount Douglas Park

New changes are being proposed to four streets in James Bay to allow better access for cyclists. Residents have until June 11 to provide feedback. (Black Press Media file photo)
New revisions to James Bay bike lanes open for feedback

Routes on Government and Montreal streets planned for 2022

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 11

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth debates the province’s latest measure to control crime, March 10, 2021. The legislation allows police to impound vehicles used to transport weapons and further restricts sale of vehicle and body armour. (B.C. legislature video)
B.C. seeking ways to ‘name and shame’ gangsters, minister says

Mike Farnworth appeals to family members to talk to police

Jonathan Prest had to climb way up to the top of a dead red cedar tree to rescue a terrified cat, but he made it up and down successfully. (Facebook photos)
Tree cutter rescues cat stuck 100 feet up a dead and dried-out cedar

Jonathan Prest put himself in extreme peril to get a terrified cat out of a dangerous situation

The Arts Council of Ladysmith and District is working with several Vancouver Island art councils on the Digitial Innovation Group to improve digital skills for Island artists. (Submitted photo)
Arts group promotes digital literacy for Island artists

The goal is to leverage digital skills to promote Vancouver Island as an ‘arts powerhouse’

Italian-Canadian prisoners at the Kananaskis prisoner of war camp in Alberta. (University of Calgary/Contributed)
Italian moved to Okanagan with hope; he ended up being sent to a WWII internment camp

Raymond Lenzi shares his grandfather’s story ahead of Canada’s planned formal apology to Italian-Canadians

Most Read