Police bust break-in culprits
Four charged in Small Point incident; one linked to Broad Cove theft
Four people — all from St. John’s — have been charged in connection with a break-in at J&L Convenience and Gas Bar in Small Point. Police believe the foursome may have been involved in other breakins in the region.
It appears that police in Conception Bay North have crippled a foursome that may have been responsible for a string of break-ins and thefts in the region.
The accused — two men and two women from St. John’s — were arrested during the early hours of July 26 following a pursuit that involved vehicles, uniformed officers and a police dog on Route 70 near Small Point.
The dramatic arrests came as police from the Trinity Conception District RCMP were responding to an alarm at J& L Convenience and Gas Bar in Small Point. The business had been broken into and the intruders, who stole tobacco products and lottery scratch tickets, activated an elaborate siren and alarm system in the process. The culprits were recorded by security cameras, but had their faces covered.
Officers spotted a purple Chyrsler Caravan leaving the area just before daylight and attempted to stop the vehicle. The driver initially refused to stop, but later pulled the vehicle to the shoulder, and all four occupants exited the van and ran into the woods.
Three were later tracked down by a police dog and its handler. A fourth was picked up as he walked along the highway.
A quantity of tobacco products and lottery scratch tickets were found in the van, along with at least five large rocks, tools and other items.
Police say the van, an older model, is registered to a 54-year-old St. John’s man. The man was not aware that his van had been stolen when contacted by police. Its ignition had been ripped out.
Arrested were 30-year-old Frederick Leonard Wade, Melissa Yetman, 28, and Tracey Stamp, age 23. All three made courts appearances last week in Harbour Grace. A fourth accused, a 34-year-old male, was released on a recognizance by police and his identity was not made public. He will appear in court Sept. 20.
Police say Wade was driving the van and is facing the most serious charges: possession of stolen property, break and enter, failing to stop for police and breach of undertaking.
An investigation into a July 20 break-in at Burden’s Foodex in Broad Cove, which is about a football field’s length away from J&L Convenience, has also been linked to Wade. Police say physical evidence collected at the scenes confirms that Wade was involved in both crimes.
Wade was on parole at the time of the incidents, and was still in custody as of Friday. Yetman and Stamp were both released and have court dates set for September.
Meanwhile, the owner of J&L Convenience credited high-tech security measures for ensuring the intruders were caught.
“ The system made the difference,” said Junior Loveys.
Loveys said his system is connected to a security centre in Halifax, where security officers can monitor the security cameras in his business. Once the system was tripped, the RCMP was notified.
“I hope they give them something more than a week in jail,” Loveys commented.
There has been a rash of break-ins in the region last month, including the theft of a safe from a postal office in Brownsdale, and police sources have not ruled out the possibility that these same individuals may have been involved in all or most of the incidents.
Tracey Stamp (left) and Melissa Yetman, both residents of St. John’s, emerge from the court house in Harbour Grace on July 26 after making an appearance in relation to a break-in at J&L Convenience and Gas Bar in Small Point earlier in the day.
The owner of J&L Convenience and Gas Bar in Small Point, Junior Loveys, displays the shattered lock that was used to secure the rear entrance to his business. Four St. John’s residents have been charged in connection with a July 26 break-in at the store.
St. John’s resident Frederick Leonard Wade, age 30, waits to make an appearance at provincial court in Harbour Grace on July 26. Wade is charged with recent break-ins at businesses in Small Point and Broad Cove.
This van was seized July 26 after police arrested four people in connection with a break-in at a business in Small Point on July 26. The van was stolen from a St. John’s man the night before.