Police bust scam artists in Hope

RCMP found numerous stolen identification and credit cards from all over the Lower Mainland

Three people arrested in Hope early Friday morning are facing multiple charges in connection to fraudulent activity throughout the Lower Mainland.

An officer on patrol in the Flying J Travel Plaza parking lot spotted Surrey residents Christine Ann Connelly, 28, and Coral Kimberly Baird, 23, and 27-year-old Randall Sydney Ward from Abbotsford acting suspiciously when she pulled up. They tried to flee the area on foot, but the officer managed to corral them and bring them back to their parked car, which turned out to be overdue from a rental company in Surrey. According to Hope RCMP, one of the women appeared to be “very high on drugs” at the time.

Police searched the vehicle and found numerous stolen identification and credit cards from all over the Lower Mainland, along with high-end items that are believed to have been fraudulently purchased. A credit card reading device, two laptop computers and cell phones were also seized. Police found drugs, including suspected marijuana, GHB and methamphetamine, inside the car along with drug paraphernalia.

“All three of these individuals are very well-known to police and are prolific offenders from outside our area,” said Hope RCMP Staff Sgt. Suki Manj. “Criminals have no boundaries and they travel throughout our communities. This is an example of good police work where we’ve located three very active criminals in our community. We believe the stolen items were taken from unlocked vehicles and remind the public to keep their belongings out of site and not make themselves targets for these types of criminals.”

Connelly, Baird and Ward have been charged with false pretense, possession of a break-in instrument, and possession of stolen property. Connelly and Baird are also facing charges of willfully resisting or obstructing a peace officer, escape from lawful custody, personation with intent to avoid arrest, breach of undertaking, and breach of probation order. In addition, Baird is charged with possession of a controlled substance.

All three remain in custody, with Connelly and Baird set to appear in Chilliwack Provincial Court on Jan. 14 followed by Ward on Jan. 15.