Noted in the crime blotter: Murder mansion, the Torch Gang and a gift-card crime ring

Crime notes from all over …

British Columbia: New Westminster police didn’t have to far to go to solve an auto theft case in early March. An officer saw an allegedly stolen minivan parked half a block from their headquarters. After the van drove a short distance, the driver jumped out and was quickly apprehended—and turned out to be a 22-year-old serial car thief who’d been released from jail earlier that day; he was there for auto theft.

Manitoba: A large rooming house in Winnipeg that’s come to be known as “murder mansion” was the site of another alleged homicide in late February—the third in five years. Ronald Harold McKinnon, 54, a resident of the home, was found unconscious and later died of his injuries. In early March police charged a 38-year-old man, also a resident of the home, with manslaughter.

Ontario: Since October 2010 the so-called Torch Gang had perfected the crime of breaking into ATM machines, using—what else?—torches to knock off bank machines in under 60 seconds. After 130 ATM thefts totalling more than $1 million, Ottawa police nabbed four alleged members of the gang, including a father and son.

Quebec: For the fourth time in recent months a Quebec City student has been charged with using Facebook to utter death threats against other students and teachers. The 17-year-old vowed to go on a killing spree at his former high school. Back in January, three teens—two boys and a girl aged 14 to 16—were charged with conspiracy to commit murder after they chatted on Facebook about using guns to kill school administrators and students.

Newfoundland: Police in St. John’s cracked a large gift-card crime ring, seizing more than 300 prepaid cards and credit cards after a raid on a hotel. The cards, from retailers such as Esso and Wal-Mart, were found after police received a tip about suspicious activity. Three men and two women face charges of fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and possessing instruments for copying credit-card data.

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