Suspect in 2019 robbery, kidnapping in Kamloops arrested in Vancouver

·3 min read

One of Kamloops’ most wanted, who had been on the lam for nearly a year, has been arrested in Vancouver.

Robert James Rennie, 33, was arrested on Monday (March 1) by Vancouver Police officers following a traffic stop at 2:20 a.m.

He was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for charges of armed robbery, assault with a weapon and forcible confinement stemming from a drug-related Valentine’s Day robbery and kidnapping in 2019.

Rennie was one of three men arrested in connection with the incident. The other two men — Michael Mathieson and Justin Daniels — have since been sentenced. The robbery and kidnapping took place in the midst of a violent local gang war and involved people active in the Kamloops drug trade.

In January, Mathieson, 38, was sentenced in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver to 6.5 years in a federal prison after being convicted of armed robbery, unlawful confinement, kidnapping with a firearm and assault. Incriminating text messages and selfie photos on a phone seized by anti-gang police officers led to his conviction.

After credit for time served in pre-trial custody — 1.5 days for every day served — Mathieson has less than six years left to serve.

Daniels, charged alongside Mathieson, pleaded guilty last August and was sentenced in October 2020 to 7.5 years in a federal penitentiary. The 40-year-old pleaded guilty to counts of armed robbery, kidnapping with a firearm and robbery. After being given credit for time served, he has 5.5 years left behind bars.

Police stumbled upon a kidnapping in progress in the early-morning hours of Feb. 14, 2019, while monitoring a wiretap as part of a separate, ongoing investigation.

The violent spree began hours earlier when a man was beaten and robbed inside a suite at the Hospitality Inn in Lower Sahali. Assailants then went to the Acadian Inn, downtown on Columbia Street, where they held a couple against their will and lured an acquaintance to the scene with the promise of money. The target arrived with his girlfriend and another man.

The two men were robbed, strip-searched and hog-tied. The woman was then kidnapped and taken to the target’s home in Dallas, which was ransacked, then driven to Kelowna. In Kelowna, the kidnapped woman was handed over to a driver, to be taken back to Kamloops. On the drive from Kelowna to Kamloops, she was rescued by police during a high-risk traffic stop in Falkland.

On Feb. 15, 2019, Mounties arrested Daniels at a home on Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. Mathieson was arrested five days later, on Feb. 20, 2019, in a home on Brandon Avenue on the North Shore of Kamloops.

Rennie was arrested during a traffic stop two days after that, on Feb. 22, 2019, in Kaleden, a small town 13 kilometres south of Penticton, along Highway 97 and on Skaha Lake.

Rennie, who had obtained bail following his arrest, fled from a halfway house in April 2020 and had been on the run since, having failed to show up for his trial last September.

He remains in custody, with his next court appearance scheduled for March 11.

Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week