North Vancouver RCMP has identified and is looking for a suspect who scammed several seniors in the North Shore as well as Vancouver.
Police are seeking the public’s assistance in finding Donald Robert Quinnell, wanted for at least nine offences in North Vancouver. He also faces multiple charges in West Vancouver and other jurisdictions. Quinnell has an outstanding Canada-wide warrant for Breach of Probation.
Donald Robert Quinnell is described as:
- Male Caucasian
- 6 feet 1 inch tall
- 190 pounds
- Short, brown hair
- Brown eyes
- 52 years old
- Light to medium complexion
- May be wearing glasses and/or ball cap
- Well dressed/groomed
Anyone who sees him is advised not to approach him, but to call 9-1-1 immediately.
Quinnell presents himself as a well-dressed, well-mannered man, in his 40s or 50s. He approaches lone elderly people under the pretense of needing or offering help, and often targets his victims in grocery store parking lots or outside residences.
Between mid-July and as recently as last night, September 4, multiple incidents have been reported in North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Vancouver.
In some cases he says he has locked his keys out of his car and needs help; in others he offers to help carry groceries. His goal is to win the trust of his victims. Once he has their trust, he works his way into their car or home, and then quietly steals their wallets, purses and other valuables.
At this time, he does not appear to pose any threat of physical violence to his victims.
“Sometimes he plays the victim and other times the saviour,” said Sgt. DeVries of the North Vancouver RCMP. “He convinces his victims to either give or receive kindness, which seems a very lovely thing. But then he uses their goodness as a distraction so he can steal their belongings. He gains trust so that he can betray it. It’s manipulative and deplorable.”
Investigators have been working together with the Vancouver Police and West Vancouver Police Departments in the investigation, and to locate Quinnell. Multiple charges in all three jurisdictions are anticipated in the near future, but until Quinnell is brought into custody, police want to encourage elderly people to remain vigilant and to report any suspicious incidents to their local police.
“It makes us angry that we have to tell the public they need to think twice before giving or accepting kindness from strangers,” said Sgt. DeVries.
“That’s not the kind of society we’re all trying to cultivate. Police are calling on the rest of the community to be vigilant as well. Knowing this guy is watching the elderly in order to find his next victim, we hope everyone else will also be watching for this guy, and keeping a close eye on the elderly in our community.”
Anyone who sees the suspect, or witnesses anything suspicious that seems to fit the profile of this crime, is asked to call 9-1-1 immediately. Anyone who may have been a victim is also asked to call their local police department to report it.