Police nab couple on suspicion of vehicle theft

NANAIMO – Special operation by local Mounties helps nab suspects in multiple thefts from vehicles.

Operation Find a Car Thief is being credited for nabbing two suspects believed responsible for numerous thefts from vehicles from Nanaimo’s downtown core in recent weeks.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said in a press release the operation that helped police bag the suspects was designed by Cpl. Brenda O’Sullivan of the Nanaimo Intelligence Section and involved hours of reviewing video security footage and forensic evidence, and constant monitoring of known hot spots by general duty and plain clothes members.

Oliver Petersen, 43, of Gabriola Island, and Natasha Webster, 31, of Victoria, were arrested at about 2 a.m. Wednesday when they were seen walking on Front Street by a member on patrol who recognized them and arrested them for theft from vehicles. They had been identified earlier through forensic evidence gathered at various crime scenes.

The suspects were held in custody on multiple charges and appeared in Nanaimo provincial court Friday.

In addition to charges of theft from a motor vehicle, possession of stolen property, possession of break-in tools and various mischief charges, Petersen is also charged with break and enter to a home on Gabriola Island in April.

“We are pleased and I’m sure the residents of Nanaimo and Gabriola Island are too that these two individuals have been caught and have been taken off the streets,” O’Brien said.