A 53-year-old prolific offender was arrested in Nanaimo following investigations into 50 different break and enters committed on Vancouver Island.

The Nanaimo resident, Ian Archibald Mactavish, was arrested without incident on May 7th after he allegedly broke into properties and stole goods and cash in Nanaimo, Oceanside, and Ladysmith.

Police say the majority of the break-ins occurred in Nanaimo.

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Shortly after Mactavish was arrested last week, Nanaimo RCMP carried out a search warrant of his home in south Nanaimo. Inside the residence, investigators found various articles of clothing that linked him to several break and enters that were recorded on video surveillance.

Unfortunately, no cash was found during the search that could be returned to the business owners.

“Mactavish was obviously quite adept at finding ways to avoid detection, however, investigators felt it was only a matter of time before he was caught and his crime spree came to an end,” said Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.

Police suspect that Mactavish performed most of the break and enters between January and April 2019. He allegedly took mostly cash and small items from businesses.

See also: Nanaimo RCMP looking to return 4 stolen rifles to their rightful owner

Throughout the 50 investigations, officers noticed several commonalities amongst the break-ins:

  • Video surveillance showed that Mactavish would crawl on the floor to avoid motion sensor alarms which were often set higher up.
  • The majority of the businesses that were broken into did not have glass break alarms.
  • Businesses with prominent “NO CASH ON SITE” signs were avoided.

After reviewing Mactavish’s methods, Nanaimo RCMP are advising business owners to update their security measures to deter would-be thieves.

“These are excellent crime prevention tips that we can all learn from,” said O’Brien.

“If you own a business, take a few minutes to make these small but effective adjustments to keep your business safe.”

Mactavish is currently in police custody and will remain there until his court appearance in Nanaimo Provincial Court on Wednesday, May 15th.