Officers provide more details on removal of gas station robbery suspect

Steinbach RCMP Staff Sergeant credits his GIS unit with arresting a Hanoverian man, wanted in connection with a series of robberies, arson, robberies and assaults in the course of the last two months.

On Friday, we broke the story that the RCMP arrested 21-year-old Tobias Renz for his alleged involvement in a series of crimes beginning Dec. 5 in Steinbach and culminating on Jan. 14.

Police have made an arrest in connection with a series of gas station robberies in southeast M…

Corporal Brian White says the investigation began with a few basic service calls. He notes that it didn’t take long for officers to begin linking the incidents.

“Even though they were spread out over different detachment areas between Steinbach, St. Pierre, Oakbank, Winnipeg, we were able to connect everything almost immediately,” admits White.

The perpetrator ended up committing numerous crimes over the course of two days. On December 13, a Honda Civic was stolen in Steinbach. Shortly after, gasoline, cigarettes and groceries were stolen from Mitchell’s gas station. Two days later, gas stations were robbed in Lorette and Tourond, and businesses in Winnipeg and Deacon’s Corner were also targeted.

“We realized pretty quickly that the same vehicle was being used,” White notes. “There are a lot of connecting factors in every event and we were able to put it all together pretty quickly.”

White says that through corporate surveillance cameras, they were able to visually identify the person they believed to be responsible for the crimes.

The suspect had used an airsoft gun in at least two of the robberies. White admits there was a concern for public safety. He notes that they were very careful the following days, just to see if there would be any recurrences. White says that while they had a strong feeling that they knew who had committed the crimes, they needed a little more time and on January 14 it all fell into place.

“We were ready to go and make an arrest and it happened that there was a disturbance where this person was staying,” White reports. “We were able to stop our target safely. No one was hurt, so that’s good news.”

Staff Sergeant Harold Laninga says it was a multi-faceted investigation involving multiple agencies and communities. This list includes Steinbach RCMP General Investigation Section (GIS), Springfield Police Department, Oakbank RCMP, St. Pierre RCMP, Eastern District CREST (Reduction Support Team Crime and Law Enforcement) and the Winnipeg Police Service Major Crime Unit.

Laninga says that during the investigation, they arranged a meeting in Steinbach with those agencies. But the investigation itself was coordinated by Steinbach’s GIS unit, which oversaw the entire operation.

“We are very lucky to have our GIS unit,” notes Laninga. “I believe the city of Steinbach had the foresight to fund it and recognize that crime affects multiple areas and often affects Steinbach. And in this case, someone from the RM of Hannover is impacting Steinbach and Oakbank and the city of Winnipeg.”

He adds that everyone involved did an incredible job of putting it all together.

According to White, it is unclear what type of sentence could be handed down. He notes that it could be a long jail term, although ultimately that will be up to the judge to decide.

“All the police officers who showed up for the calls, they did their job,” he says. “The witnesses were very good, the business people were very good, it all helps to piece it all together.”

About Margaret Shaw

Check Also

Ben Affleck, 49, cuts a youthful figure as he steps out showing off his buff arms while smoking

The JLo effect! Ben Affleck, 49, cuts a youthful figure as he steps out showing …