Three Abbotsford men are on B.C.’s top 10 list of most-wanted car thieves.
Christopher John Bursey, 22 (third on the list), Million Gerbe Radia, 32 (seventh), and Clint Warren Rose, 35 (ninth), join seven others named by the the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) as the most notorious car thieves in the Lower Mainland.
The other culprits – all men ranging in age from 21 to 43 – are from Surrey, Richmond, Langley, Penticton, Ridge Meadows, and New Westminster.
IMPACT released their names and photos on Thursday as part of Auto Crime Enforcement Month and the 10th anniversary of the bait car program in B.C.
Bursey is on the list because he fled from police in a stolen BMW, wrapped it around a telephone pole and attempted to flee on foot and hide in a nearby Keg restaurant.
His criminal history includes various property crimes. He is wanted for possession of stolen property, theft, possession of break-in instruments and unlawful use of ID.
Radia allegedly stole two separate vehicles within four days and fled from police in the stolen vehicles on both occasions. He is prohibited from driving Canada-wide and should be considered violent, police say.
He is wanted for possession of stolen property and breach of probation.
Rose is a repeated car thief in Abbotsford/Mission who continually flees from police and has numerous property crime convictions, according to IMPACT.
He is wanted for breach of his bail conditions and driving while prohibited.
At a press conference Thursday in Surrey, Attorney-General Shirley Bond said 77 of the 80 most-wanted car thieves have been caught in the last 10 years.
She said since the bait car program was introduced in 2003, auto theft has been reduced by 71 per across B.C., and thefts from vehicles have decreased by 64 per cent.
The reductions are even greater in Abbotsford, where there have been 76 per cent fewer stolen vehicles and 80 per cent fewer thefts from vehicles since 2003, according to figures released by ICBC.
From 2010 to 2011 alone, those numbers dropped 17 per cent and 36 per cent, respectively.
In Mission, there has been a 63 per cent drop in stolen vehicles since 2003, and 65 per cent fewer car break-ins. Those incidents fell 35 per cent and 36 per cent from 2010 to 2011.
Abbotsford Police recently announced that last month the city recorded the lowest February on record for stolen vehicles. Previous figures had shown that, over the last three years, the first three months of the year are the worst for these types of crimes.
Those numbers could drop even further. Bond announced Thursday that the bait car program has now expanded to include commercial vehicles such as construction equipment and commercial vans.
A bait car is a vehicle owned by police and intended to be stolen. When the vehicle is stolen, the location, speed and direction of travel are monitored by police dispatchers through GPS tracking.
Everything that takes place inside the car is caught on audio and video.
MOST STOLEN VEHICLES IN ABBOTSFORD:
1. Honda Civic
2. Ford pickups
3. Dodge pickups
4. Honda Accord
5. Chevy pickups
6. GMC pickups
7. Jeep Cherokee
8. Dodge Caravan
9. Acura Integra
10. Toyota Camry
ITEMS MOST STOLEN FROM VEHICLES:
1. GPS systems
2. Laptop computers
4. Stereo equipment (CD players, amps, speakers, etc.)
6. Registration papers
7. Garage door openers
8. Cellphones, portable DVD players, DVD’s and iPods
9. Work tools
10. Tires and wheels