Summer unit nabs 2 in Cowichan in car thefts

A special RCMP unit has been hitting the streets in North Cowichan/Duncan this summer and the unit’s work has one man, identified as a prolific offender, facing charges. Tuesday night, the Crime Reduction Team were out in full force, recovering three stolen vehicles that were in the possession of 22-year-old Jesse Biley, said Cpl. Krista Hobday of the North Cowichan/Duncan detachment in a press release.

Biley, has left "stolen vehicles in his wake from Penticton, Cranbrook, Langley, Burnaby, Oceanside, Nanaimo, Duncan, Victoria and all points in between," said Hobday.

Courtney Therrien, 23, was camping with Biley in a stolen 1979 Dodge camper, Hobday said, and there was also a 1994 Suzuki Sidekick and a 1997 Geo Tracker on the site. Two of the vehicles were stolen out of Nanaimo and the third from Ladysmith.

Therrien and Biley are facing charges of three counts each of theft of motor vehicle and possession of stolen property obtained by crime.

Therrien had an outstanding warrant for her arrest on unrelated charges and Biley also faces charges of failing to comply with a recognizance, where he breached the condition that prohibits him from being in a motor vehicle without the registered owner being present or having written permission from the registered owner.

The North Cowichan/Duncan Crime Reduction Unit has been working closely with the Nanaimo General Investigation Section on more than 10 vehicle theft files stretching from Nanaimo to the Duncan area.

But that’s not all the members have tackled this summer.

"These officers have been temporarily taken from their regular duties to assist the front line policing efforts to reduce crime," said Cpl. Jon Stuart of the North Cowichan/Duncan detachment in a media release about the special unit.

The temporary nine-member unit has been conducting bike and foot patrols in problem areas, locating people with outstanding warrants, doing curfew checks, licensed premises checks, doing surveillance and targeted enforcement on persons and properties of interest, and increasing the visibility of police in the community.

"Members of the CRU are enjoying overwhelming approval from the public, both young and old, with a wave and a thumbsup when they are out on foot or two wheels," Const. Joe Power, CRU member said.

The officers have come from community policing, the street crew, First Nations policing, municipal traffic and general investigations sections.

The unit has seen "significant results" from their work near the Cowichan River area, where early in the summer daily checks found numerous containers of alcohol being seized and noted violations of the Liquor Control and Licencing Act up and down the river.

Recent patrols have found a different story.

More families with young children have been coming to the river to cool off and swim.

People may have also seen members of this unit patrolling community events such as Sunfest and Rock of the Woods.

The officers will return to their regular duties in the fall.

"Inspector Ray Carfantan, officer in charge of North Cowichan/Duncan detachment, is very pleased with the work the men and women of the Crime Reduction Unit are accomplishing this summer. He knows they are working hard and he is impressed with their results and the positive impact it is having on the community," said Hobday.