Vancouver police say commercial break and enters and mischief incidents with glass broken in the downtown core have increased 64 per cent since 2019 and Global News has learned one of the suspects in a recent window-smashing rampage caught on camera in Gastown is a convicted killer from Alberta.
Curtis George McCallum, 48, is accused of throwing a brick into several windows at the TD Canada Trust branch at 109 West Hastings Street on Sept. 12, causing almost $70,000 in damage.
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McCallum’s criminal history dates back to 1992 in Edmonton. In 2009, he was sentenced to nine years in prison for manslaughter and aggravated assault in the Christmas Eve 2006 killing of his aunt and the stabbing of her common-law husband.
“It is very terrifying for everyone in the neighbourhood to know that individuals such as this are out and about,” said Shelley Klassen of Shelley Klassen Studio Boutique.
Klassen said she and her Richards Street dress shop staff are regularly battling broken windows and chasing down suspects to retrieve stolen items after she estimates street disorder increased ten-fold during the pandemic.
“What was mostly concentrated on East Hastings has now infiltrated big portions of downtown,” Klassen told Global News in an interview Saturday.
“It’s not just a policing issue, this is a mental health crisis and it’s just not being dealt with at any level.”
Klassen believes society has failed the most vulnerable and said more intervention is needed.
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“We have to have a social safety net set up to stop people from getting to this level of poverty and marginalization and disparity, and that’s where we’ve failed.”
When it comes to homelessness, the Vancouver Police Department’s top cop said our city is a destination.
“The weather is much milder here, there [are] a lot of supports here in Vancouver, and we’re a magnet for the entire country,” Chief Const. Adam Palmer told the police board on Sept. 22.
“We see the great migration west… many times they’re bringing social issues with them.”
While on statutory release from prison in July 2013, McCallum was the subject of a Canada-wide warrant for being at large.
According to the Edmonton Sun, he turned himself in four days later.
In June 2015, Alberta court records show McCallum was accused of breaking into an Edmonton woman’s home and assaulting her.
In Oct. 2016, he was charged with assaulting two women in Edmonton — one with a weapon, a glass bowl.
In Dec. 2019, McCallum was sentenced to four days in jail and 18 months probation for a May 2019 assault with a weapon in West Kelowna.
After the window smashing at the Woodward’s building in Vancouver last month, McCallum was arrested and charged with mischief to property over $5,000. He has since been released from custody for a court appearance on Oct. 12.
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