Roaming Romanians Arrested

Roaming Romanians arrested
Group accused of stealing from convenience stores

By Brian Medel
The Chronicle Herald (Nova Scotia), October 9, 2009

Yarmouth – A vanload of Romanians was pulled over by RCMP officers in Yarmouth just before suppertime Wednesday after police got a tip that Eastern Europeans were roaming the province and stealing money and goods from convenience stores.

'There were seven adults, five female and two male between 19 … and 50 years old,' said Sgt. Michel LaCroix of the Yarmouth RCMP.

'They also had a little six-month-old baby with them.'

Police have interrogated some of the suspects. Not all members of the group speak English, said Sgt. LaCroix.

Luckily, an RCMP officer in Meteghan who speaks Romanian was able to help with the interviews.

Windsor RCMP are handling the investigation and travelled to Yarmouth on Thursday.

The adults were arrested. The baby is said to be in the care of child welfare workers.

The group is accused of stealing from Nova Scotia businesses from Oct. 5 to 7, said Sgt. LaCroix.

The group is alleged to have targeted small shops like convenience stores. They are alleged to have swarmed attendants who were working alone, distracting them and stealing what they could.

'They were working their way down towards Yarmouth, I guess,' said Sgt. LaCroix.

On Wednesday afternoon, cash was taken from a Shelburne business.

A good description was given of the people involved and the vehicle they were in, Sgt. LaCroix said.

A vehicle matching the description and full of Romanians was spotted in the north end of Yarmouth on Main Street.

Officers pulled over a late-model, brown GM minivan with Quebec licence plates.

Police seized cash they believe was stolen.

'The van also has been seized,' said Sgt. LaCroix.

Immigration officials are working with the Romanians, but Sgt. LaCroix said he is not sure of each adults immigration status.

'Theyre not Canadian citizens,' he said.

He said the adults are Romanians and are not in Canada illegally.

He said the adults were charged late Thursday in connection with thefts of money and goods from six locations in Lakeland, Windsor, Kennetcook, Truro, Chester and Shelburne.

Sgt. LaCroix said the adults were expected to spend the night in jail and appear in a yet-to-be-determined provincial court today.

The group has connections in other provinces, but Sgt. LaCroix was unsure if they were wanted for crimes in other parts of Canada.