Insp. Brian MacDonald, head of IMPACT, encouraged people to lock their car doors and leave no valuables, even small change, in their cars. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

B.C.’s Top 10 auto crime offenders named for 2019

Last year’s top auto crime offenders have all been arrested

The annual list of B.C.’s top 10 auto crime offenders was released Friday by the IMPACT anti-auto crime unit, just ahead of Auto Crime Enforcement Month.

“We still have a long way to go on reducing auto crime,” said Insp. Brian MacDonald, the head of the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team.

This year’s top 10 offenders include people wanted on a wide variety of charges, ranging from assault to impersonation, theft, breaching various court orders, and driving while prohibited.

While some are not wanted directly for auto related crime, they’re all known to commit auto crime, MacDonald said.

The top 10 are:

• Ante Dragusica

• Heather Dunne

• Alvin Favel

• Michael Gabriel

• Veronica Kane

• Eric Levitt

• Kao MacAulay

• Brian McDonald

• Alexander Smith

• Darris Ian Watroba

The list does not include repeat offenders from last year’s list because eight of the 10 have already been arrested in British Columbia. The other two were arrested in other provinces and are currently awaiting trials there. MacDonald said he expects they’ll be back in B.C. to face charges after the other jurisdictions are finished with them.

Senior politicians, police officers, and ICBC officials were on hand at the announcement to encourage B.C. drivers to make a routine of emptying their car and checking that it’s locked every night at 9 p.m.

The theft of cars and trucks is down in most of B.C., 13.2 per cent province-wide and 20 per cent in the Lower Mainland in 2018.

However, thefts from autos are up 4.2 per cent in B.C.

“These types of crimes are largely avoidable,” said Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.

“Crimes against property are crimes of opportunity,” he added.

ICBC vice president Lindsay Matthews noted that auto crime, while down significantly from a peak in 2003, still costs the public insurer millions every year. In 2018, stolen cars cost ICBC $52 million and vehicle break-ins cost another $17 million.

Many break-ins aren’t even accompanied by a breaking window.

Thieves will move through neighbourhoods or parking lots checking for unlocked doors, looting the insides of any car they can get into without even bothering to break a window.

In some areas, up to 60 per cent of auto break ins are a result of unlocked doors, MacDonald noted.

All the speakers at Friday’s event also encouraged everyone to make sure there was nothing inside their car worth taking, down to sunglasses and loose change, cleaning out the car as part of a daily routine.

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Senior police officials unveiled the province’s top auto crime offenders on Friday in Langley. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)

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