Halton police have charged a 45-year-old suspect with theft – the same man who was once convicted in a multi-million dollar international bank fraud scheme.
The arrest stems from an incident that took place in Burlington on Jan. 14 when police say a customer who purchased electronics at a Costco was being watched by two men. The same men then followed the customer into a Best Buy.
Best Buy staff told police at around the same time, they received a call from someone claiming to be a fraud investigator warning them that the customer may be involved in fraudulent activity.
Investigators said staff began watching the customer while two men stole merchandise, making several trips in and out of the store.
When the customer left, the suspects followed the victim in a rental car to an underground parking lot on Lakeshore Road, where they waited for the driver to leave the vehicle before smashing the passenger side window and stealing more than $3,000 worth of electronics.
A suspect identified as Gerald Daniel Blanchard, faces two charges for theft under $5,000 and mischief in connection with the investigation, police said.
The suspect also reportedly goes by the name Ricky White.
Det. Sgt. Ron Hansen of Halton Regional Police Service told CP24 that the suspect was convicted a decade ago in connection with an international fraud and theft ring that stole millions from banks and financial institutions.
Police were not aware of Blanchard’s presence in Ontario prior to his arrest, added Hansen.
He explained that officers used video surveillance footage of the parking lot and traced the suspect’s licence plate to a car rented in Blanchard’s name.
Blanchard will appear in a Milton court on March 29.
Investigators are still searching for the second suspect in his 40s.
He is described as a white male, with a heavy build.
He was last seen wearing blue jeans, a white t-shirt, a black jacket and a baseball cap.
Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call police at 905-825-4747, ext. 2338 of Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.