A judge refused to grant bail to a man accused of going on a spree of armed robberies and carjackings from in Langley, Surrey, and Vancouver last year.
Justin Michael Wareing has been in custody since last December, after he was arrested for a multi-day crime spree that took place from Dec. 20 to 22.
He asked a B.C. Supreme Court judge to release him into a drug treatment program while awaiting trial.
Over those three days, Crown prosecutors allege Wareing committed five counts of robbery, four of using an imitation firearm, failing to stop for police, using stolen credit cards, and assault, among other charges.
The spree began on Dec. 20 at the Langley Canadian Tire, where Wareing allegedly grabbed an air-soft pistol – essentially a realistic-looking pellet gun – from a cabinet while he was pretending to be interested in making a purchase.
He then allegedly headed into the parking lot, where he used the fake gun to force a man out of Toyota 4Runner, carjacking the vehicle and driving off.
On Dec. 22, Wareing allegedly approached the driver of a parked car in a Richmond McDonald’s lot, threatened him with a gun, and demanded his wallet and cellphone. The credit cards were used nearby shortly after.
The same day, a robbery at White Rock Jewellers in the Semiahmoo Shopping Centre saw a thief make off with $20,000 worth of jewels – allegedly Wareing again, wearing a mask and with a bandana over his face.
He then allegedly carjacked another driver at a Coquitlam strip mall the same day.
After forcing the driver out of his Mercedes SUV at gunpoint, Wareing allegedly shot the man multiple times in the head and hand.
The Mercedes was chased down by police, and after a foot chase Wareing was arrested. He had stolen jewelry and a BB gun – a different one than the air-soft pistol stolen from the Canadian Tire – on him when he was arrested.
The crime spree took place after a number of other incidents.
Wareing was first arrested in 2018 after he allegedly swiped $6,000 worth of Versace jackets from a store in Langley’s Willowbrook Shopping Centre on Oct. 25.
Wareing was arrested on Dec. 11 and released on bail on Dec. 14, and on Dec. 18 he allegedly stole more jackets from Alpine Start Outfitters in Vancouver, this time threatening the clerks with a knife.
After the subsequent crime spree and carjackings, Wareing appeared in court on Dec. 23 and was held in custody. He is now set to go on trial from Jan. 20 to 30 in 2020 for most of the charges. The Vancouver robbery is to be tried separately on June 9.
Justice Martha Devlin noted that Wareing’s criminal history included a number of other recent convictions, starting in 2017, when he pleaded guilty to theft and assault.
He was back in court on Jan. 3 of 2018 to plead guilty to assaulting a peace officer, and another asssault led to a plea in March.
He was on probation during all the October and December crimes for which he is facing trial.
Wareing is addicted to methamphetamines.
His lawyers asked that he be released to live at a residential drug treatment program.
“However, Crown counsel advised me that the proposed treatment facility is not licensed nor is it authorized by Vancouver Coastal Health,” Devlin wrote in her decision on Nov. 4.
She noted Wareing was on probation when his 2017 convictions took place.
In addition, the escalating level of violence in the robberies, from brandishing a knife to shooting a random driver in the head with a pellet gun were “troubling,” the judge said.
“I am not satisfied that the release plan proposed can overcome the acute risk and serious likelihood of Mr. Wareing reoffending,” Devlin wrote.
Given the charges, if Wareing is convicted, he is likely to be facing a sentence longer than his time in pre-trial custody, the judge decided.
Wareing will stay in prison until his trial.