Burnaby RCMP and Vancouver Police Department are seeking the rightful owners of stolen goods recovered after the arrest of a prolific offender.
A prolific offender specializing in break-and-enters was released from prison last October. “Within a very short time period we started to see an increase in residential break-and-enters in Vancouver and Burnaby,” said Burnaby RCMP Staff Sgt. Andy LeClair at a press conference Friday.
VPD began investigating the offender and Burnaby Mounties joined the project in January.
On Feb. 15, the suspect was arrested after committing a break-and-enter in Burnaby. He fled from police in a vehicle and when the vehicle was driven into somebody’s yard he fled on foot, fighting with police when confronted by officers, LeClair said.
Surrey resident Michael Jonathan Mickelson, 38, was arrested and charged with break and enter with intent to commit an indictable offence, possession of break-and-enter instruments, assault of a police officer and flight from police.
“He understands that he’s facing significant time in custody. His last conviction he was sentenced to 2 1/2 years.”
After Mickelson’s arrest, Burnaby RCMP executed a search warrant on a home in Burnaby associated to him and recovered a large amount of stolen property.
“We want this property to be returned to its rightful owners,” LeClair said. “We also want to ensure that we don’t miss any charges that could be laid against Mr. Mickelson for break and enter or possession of stolen property.”
Some of the items on display at the press conference included laptops, watches, jewelry and foreign currency.
Police have so far linked some of the recovered property to four offences in Vancouver and Burnaby and believe there may have been other offences involved, possibly in other areas of the Lower Mainland.
Mickelson remains in custody. In the past, he would typically enter vacant homes, usually during the evening, and go through the residence, fleeing if he encountered someone home at the time, LeClair said, noting he has not yet been convicted on the most recent charges.
He has “been a criminal all of his adult life. He has well over 25 convictions for property crime and other offences.”
Under Burnaby RCMP’s crime reduction strategy, officers keep track of prolific offenders and keep an eye out for them when they are released from custody.
“There are a few people doing a lot of the crimes and that’s the simple truth,” LeClair said.
“The whole crime reduction piece is that we want see criminals stop committing crime, but if they’re not going to stop committing crime we want them in jail or we want them to move out of the Lower Mainland.”
LeClair did not know that aspect of Mickelson’s background but said in general, “most property crime offenders are feeding a drug habit.”
As for the value of the stolen goods recovered, he did not have a figure. However, “when you have an active property crime offender and they’re on a run, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for them to get into hundreds of thousands of dollars very quickly,” he said. “If you’re breaking into 50 to 100 homes and taking gold and valuables, the numbers start to dial up pretty quickly.”
LeClair recommended people take photos of their valuables and keep track of serial numbers of their property so they can prove ownership when items are stolen after a break-in.
Anyone who may recognize their stolen property is asked to call the Burnaby RCMP B&E Task Force at 604-294-7922.