A Langley man whom police describe as a prolific offender has been charged in relation to the theft of 12 catalytic converters and fleeing in a stolen vehicle from police in Abbotsford.
Abbotsford Police Const. Paul Walker said just after 8 a.m. on Thursday (Jan. 20), officers located an occupied stolen vehicle at the Bradner rest stop on Highway 1. They identified the vehicle as having been involved in an earlier catalytic converter theft in which the suspect had a weapon and threatened a citizen.
Walker said the stolen vehicle drove away, and police used a spike belt to damage the vehicle’s tire, but the driver did not stop, and police did not pursue him.
A short time later, the vehicle’s tire deflated and the driver was forced to stop in the 21600 block of Highway 1. He then ran away.
Walker said the man was arrested after a foot pursuit involving the Lower Mainland Integrated Police Dog Service and the Langley RCMP.
Officers searched the vehicle and found 12 catalytic converters, Walker said.
Tyson Fust, 27, of Langley now faces 13 charges – five counts of breaching his conditions, two counts each of possession of stolen property and resisting a peace officer, and one count each of robbery, fleeing from police, possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
“This is an arrest of a prolific offender who has consistently demonstrated no regard for the impact his actions have on other people. We like to see offenders who pose this kind of risk taken off the streets so the community can receive the protection it deserves,” said Insp. Casey Vinet.
Catalytic converters are devices attached to a vehicle’s exhaust system that convert toxic exhaust gases into less harmful emissions.
They are sold to scrap metal dealers or recyclers for a fraction of their actual value. The sale and purchase of catalytic converters is not regulated, but the province said last fall that it is hoping to close that loophole.
This is not Fust’s first charges related to this crime. He was one of two men charged last October in relation to the theft of catalytic converters in Vancouver, and he still has charges of thief and mischief before the courts.
In October 2016, Fust was sentenced to a two-year jail term for a two-month crime spree in Abbotsford, Mission and Surrey.
His offences included robbing an 81-year-old woman of her purse in the parking lot of Sevenoaks Shopping Centre in Abbotsford on Dec. 21, 2015, and then running to a waiting vehicle, which sped away.
On Jan. 8, 2016, Fust walked into Mike’s Market – a community grocery store on Manson Street in Mission’s Hatzic Bench – and demanded cash.
He was carrying a fake gun and a large bag and had his face concealed with sunglasses and a medical mask.
He was caught on camera during the hold-up, and the clear image was circulated online and through the media.
Fust also committed a robbery in Surrey on the same day, and robbed a pizza delivery drive at knifepoint in the Clearbrook area of Abbosford on Feb. 29, 2016.
He initially faced almost 30 charges but was sentenced on seven – four counts of robbery, two counts of possessing stolen property and one count of using a fake gun.