Date:   Dec 10, 2014

Victoria BC – A well-known property thief and his accomplice, both recently arrested for destroying and stealing parking meters, are behind bars thanks to VicPD’s Crime Reduction Unit.

VicPD’s Crime Reduction Unit started an investigation into stolen parking meters in early November when information came to light that the suspects may have been responsible for parking meter theft through Victoria and in communities throughout the island.

Throughout the month, members of the Crime Reduction Unit used covert investigative techniques to further their investigation while parking meter thefts were occurring.

Officers observed the two using home-fabricated keys to open parking meters and steal the money inside.

Eventually, officers got enough information to get a search warrant for the pair’s residence. Inside they found evidence of key manufacturing and entire parking meter poles. There was also another parking meter found in a second car used by the pair.

Our CRASH team comparing a parking meter pole to the damaged vehicle.

Our CRASH team gets a closer look at the damage.

When officers looked closely at the main vehicle the pair was using to commit their crimes, they noted some suspicious damage. The officers found that the damage exactly fit with the parking meter poles. It appeared that the vehicle was being used to knock over the meters, and they were being taken back to the pair’s residence.

“Our officers put a tremendous amount of work into seeing that this well-known property thief and his accomplice were put behind bars,” said VicPD Chief Constable Frank Elsner. “Crime does not respect borders and we’re happy we could ensure safety in our communities and throughout the island.”

Benjamin Hilliard, a 35-year-old Victoria man and Emma Whitfield, a 38-year-old Victoria woman, have both been charged with possession of break and enter tools, theft under $5000, possession of break in instruments for coin operated device and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.

Hilliard’s next court appearance is today while Whitfield’s is on Wednesday, December 17th.