The Abbotsford Police Department is targeting property offenders with its Project Blitzen initiative. (Photo by Dale Klippenstein)

Abbotsford Police arrest shoplifter three times in one day

Project Blitzen launched to address theft from stores and vehicles

A project by the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) to target shoplifters this season included one thief being arrested three times in the same day.

Sgt. Judy Bird said the man was first arrested Tuesday morning, and was released from custody later that day.

A few hours later, he was again arrested for stealing from a local mall. Later that same day, the culprit was caught yet again at another shopping mall, Bird said.

Also as part of the initiative – titled Project Blitzen – officers responded to a shoplifter who had been apprehended by a store’s loss prevention officer.

“Upon arrival, officers encountered another known shoplifter exiting the same store. Officers located more stolen merchandise on this person,” Bird said.

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She said Project Blitzen was launched this week to disrupt and stop theft from stores and vehicles in and around the city’s major retail centres.

Bird said the initiative resulted in officers responding to 22 files over a three-day period this week, resulting in seven arrests and several other suspects being confronted and prevented from stealing.

Over those three days, officers also connected with more than 30 shop owners and managers to discuss proactive steps they could take to protect their businesses.

Insp. Jason Burrows, officer in charge of the patrol division, said the project involved both uniformed and undercover officers.

“This project yielded impressive results. Acting Sgt. Maniwa assembled and led a fantastic group of police officers committed to combating theft and property crime in our community,” he said.

Bird said it’s impossible to know the full impact of Project Blitzen, but it’s believed that a significant number of thefts from vehicles and stores were prevented.

She said the project is one of many crime-prevention initiatives that the APD will be undertaking to reduce property crime.

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