Surrey BC home invasions


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Lord Grey Boots
January 28, 2003, 02:41 AM
I am really glad they caught these folks. They have been hitting homes a few blocks from my parents place. I wish I had seen this in the news a few weeks ago.
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Surrey BC home invasions (http://canada.com/vancouver/story.asp?id={9AA054A6-3D1A-47E3-BD03-B6BB29F61684})


UPDATE: Surrey RCMP are reporting yet another home invasion. And police say the suspects taken into custody were only 15 and 16 years old.

Police descended on the Whalley area Sunday night on reports a 45-year-old man had been hit with a metal object during an attack in his home.

RCMP spokesman Const. Tim Shields says nothing appears to have been stolen in the latest break-in, the fourth in the area in just over a week. He also says the suspects may not be linked to three earlier attacks.

Sheilds says the teens do not, as yet, face any charges. One remained in custody Monday on unrelated matters, while the other was released. Both were previously known to police.

Meanwhile, Shields says a suspected drug den in the Whalley neighbourhood has been shut down. The house is just blocks away from the site of three earlier home invasions in the past week.

No direct link has been established between the house and the three earlier attacks, which targeted a quadriplegic man in a wheelchair and two elderly couples.

The owner of the alleged crack house finally evicted his tenants over the weekend, and the house is being cleared out.

Police have raided the house seven times in the past eight months.

Original story in Monday's Vancouver Sun:

A day after someone broke into Albert Tindall's house and tried to throttle him and his wife, the 82-year-old answered his door politely.

"I don't feel like talking just now," said the balding, diminutive former grocer, whose Whalley home is just blocks away from two houses that were the subject of similar attacks last weekend.

The skin beneath Tindall's right eye was swollen and a vivid purple where the burglar had bashed him in the face and broken his cheekbone.

His wife Nancy, also 82, was in hospital, being treated for a collapsed lung and suspected broken rib. She was released later in the day. The intruder got away with a little money and not much more.

The Tindalls have lived in their Whalley home for more than 30 years. In homes not far away last weekend, a quadriplegic living on East Whalley Ring Road was thrown from his wheelchair and choked by an intruder, and a couple in their 80s was attacked in bed by a man wielding a broomstick.

Police are considering the possibility the incidents are connected but have nothing definitive, said Surrey RCMP Constable Tim Shields.

The Tindalls' son David, who flew in from Kelowna to be with his parents, spoke for the family while his father rested in another room.

"It was about six in the morning and dad heard a noise in the kitchen," David Tindall said. Thinking his wife had gotten up, "he got out of bed and headed in there. It was dark and all, and mom wasn't in there, so he'd turned around and that's when the guy jumped him."

His father got his hands up in time not to be strangled, David Tindall said, and had the presence of mind to pretend to have been knocked out after the attacker hit him repeatedly.

Nancy Tindall was the intruder's next victim: he wrapped his hands around her neck as she lay sleeping, and when she fought back, he punched her in the head and chest.

But by this time, Albert Tindall was up and moving, David Tindall said. He'd reached the phone and was dialling 911.

"I guess by this time there was just too much going on," David Tindall said. "There were too many people moving in too many places, and the man panicked and ran."

He headed out through the back door, raced across the yard and scaled a vine-covered chainlink fence. The Surrey RCMP later used dogs to follow his scent, but said in a news release that the trail disappeared when it reached a nearby street.

They said they're looking for a man who is between five-foot-eight and five-foot-10, weighing 180 to 200 pounds. He might have been wearing gloves and might have had his face covered, but it was dark and the Tindalls can't be sure.

This broad description matches the little information available about the attacker or attackers in last week's invasions.

"He must have been casing the place," David Tindall said. His parents' house is the only one on that stretch of 98A Avenue that has bars on its ground-level windows.

The house had been burglarized once, about 20 years ago, when his parents were away, the younger Tindall said. That's why they put the bars up.

"But there was one window that didn't have bars, the one on the back door into the kitchen, and he just smashed the window and reached in for the handle and then he was inside," David Tindall said.

He said his parents ran a little grocery store in Whalley for many years, and although the place had been burglarized "several times," nobody had ever held them up.

"He started that store when he was about 15," David Tindall said of his father. "He had a bicycle and he used to go across the river ... pick up the groceries and come back and distribute them. They had 100-pound sacks of potatoes in those days. I mean, dad weighs about 108, and he used to haul sacks of potatoes as big as he was."

The couple recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary -- cards from their two children and five grandchildren were everywhere in their bungalow, along with several more cards from Nancy Tindall's recent birthday.

Outside, children kicked a soccer ball around a neighbour's yard and young families went for Sunday strolls.

Residents of the area have been trying to reclaim their neighbourhood. Two alleged crack houses, neither more than 100 metres from the Tindalls', have been cleared out by vigilantes in the last few months.

Donna Newell, a contractor cleaning up one of the houses for its owner, said: "We've been working on this place for three months and we're maybe 95-per-cent there."

The former boarding house on 130 Street had been torn apart and covered in filth by its former occupants, she said. "When the neighbours decided they'd had enough, they came and broke the windows and threw all the furniture out on the lawn and the street."

She said she suspected there had been a little marijuana-growing operation on the first floor. The floor in an upstairs bedroom had been stained so badly two sandings couldn't fully refurbish it. Tents had been set up in the rubbish-strewn backyard, Newell said, and an old gardening shed was turned into someone's living quarters.

The house is to be sold for about $200,000 when it's fully repaired, she said. The repair job got a bit more expensive last Christmas when someone -- Newell suspects one of the former occupants -- came around and broke most of the windows again.

Back at the Tindalls', the son of another elderly couple in the neighbourhood came around in the early afternoon to offer some moral support.

"It's time for these home invaders to find a new hobby," said Jim Baxter. "They've gone over the line. This is too much."

He said he comes by his parents' place at 5 a.m. every day to make sure they're all right.

"My folks, they worked hard all their lives. And for someone to break in and say, 'OK, everything you have, everything you've worked for, that's mine now,' is something I'm not going to stand for," he said.

Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum has promised to retake Whalley "block by block" by cracking down on problems that have sometimes been considered insignificant: vandalism, minor thefts, building-code infractions. Look after the little things, the thinking goes, and criminals of all kinds will find Whalley less inviting. McCallum has promised to hire 60 new police officers over the next few years.

© Copyright 2003 Vancouver Sun, canada.com

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