RCMP in Surrey, B.C., say they've broken up an alleged retail theft operation that encouraged "vulnerable people" to sell them stolen merchandise to be resold.
Police say they executed a search warrant at a storefront on the 10600 block of King George Boulevard, in Surrey's Whalley neighbourhood, and recovered what they estimate to be thousands of dollars of retail items they say were stolen from local businesses.
"What they were doing there was they were encouraging local people to go out and steal particular items, and then offering them a percentage on the dollar to bring those items in to them," said Cpl. Scotty Schumann.
"They were also using a lot of what I would call vulnerable people in the area," Schumann said.
"135A Street is in close proximity, and so a lot of homeless people there as well were part of this operation."
A common setup
Schumann said it's hard to know exactly how common operations like this are, as the RCMP does not keep track specifically, but he says he's seen similar setups many times in his career.
Schumann said many of the items police recovered were common high-theft items like razor blades, batteries and infant formula, among other things.
He said it's difficult to trace exactly where the items came from, or how many people may have been involved in stealing them.
RCMP are pursuing charges against two individuals, but Schumann said the investigation is still ongoing and there may be more charges to come.