Local Mounties arrested a prolific offender accused of committing as many as 50 break-ins the mid-Island region just in 2019.
Nanaimo RCMP Street Crimes Unit arrested Ian Archibald Mactavish, 53, last week after executing a search warrant on his south Nanaimo property, where they discovered clothing and other items linking him several break-and-enters, according to a press release.
Nanaimo RCMP alleged that Mactavish committed as many as 50 break-and-enters between January and April of this year, stealing cash and other items from businesses in the Nanaimo, Ladysmith and Oceanside areas.
Based on security camera footage, Mactavish would sometimes crawl or crouch near the floor in order to avoid motion detection, according to the release, which notes that the majority of businesses were not equipped with “glass-break” alarms, enabling a suspect to leave quickly.
Mactavish has been charged with multiple counts of break-and-enter and theft. He remains in police custody and is expected to appear in Nanaimo provincial court on May 15.
Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said at least 40 of the break-ins occurred within the city. He said while the majority of thefts occurred in the north end, Mactavish committed thefts all over the city.
“We are talking Subway, Splitsville bowling alley, hair salons, pizza spots, NYLA Fresh Thread,” O’Brien said. “Everywhere.”
O’Brien said Mactavish “avoided like the plague” any businesses that displayed signs saying ‘no cash on site’ and looked for easy targets. O’Brien said although some items were found during the search of the home in south Nanaimo, no cash was ever recovered.
“These were smash and grabs. He went after money. He went after money and small items, which are disposed of,” O’Brien said. “The money was obviously used to buy dope.”
O’Brien said Mactavish moved to Vancouver Island from Alberta sometime in late September and described him as a “prolific” offender that is well-known to law enforcement in both jurisdictions.
“He’s a habitual criminal who has made a habit and a life out of committing crime,” he said.
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