EDITORIALS, LOCAL NEWS

OLD HABITS DIE HARD FOR SERIAL PROPERTY OFFENDERS

Frank Kelly

On Thursday, February 13, 2014, the WPS released information regarding the arrest of a serial break and enter offender.

Between May 1, 2013 – February 7, 2014, WPS investigators became aware of several residential break & enters in and around the City as well as rural Manitoba.  They include:

  • May 1, 2013 – 100 block of Winnipeg Street (Emerson, Mb)
  • Sept 9, 2013 – 100 block of Willmington Drive (Winnipeg)
  • Oct 21, 2013 – 100 block of Willowwood Road (Winnipeg)
  • Nov 26, 2013 – 100 block of Willow Creek Road (Morden, Mb)
  • Nov 29, 2013 – 100 block of Endcliffe Way (Winnipeg)
  • Dec 3, 2013 – 100 block of Marshall Pl (Steinbach, Mb)
  • Jan 13, 2014 – 100 block of Bearing Avenue (Winnipeg)
  • Jan 29, 2014 – 1300 block of Leila Avenue (Winnipeg)
  • Feb 7, 2014 – 100 block of Woodridge Bay (Morden, Mb)

(The same pick up truck was observed by witnesses at the above noted incidents.)

On Jan 21, 2014, a resident in the 100 block of William Marshall Way in Winnipeg observed an unknown male steal a package that had been delivered and left at her door.

Members of the District 3 Crime Unit investigated and suspects were identified.

On Feb 12, 2014, a residence in the 300 block of Boyne Avenue, Morris, Manitoba was broken into and property stolen.

Members of the District 3 Crime Unit were in the area and the suspects were arrested without incident.

All stolen property from the residence was recovered as well as several other stolen items from other break-ins.

Police subsequently arrested and charged Allen Emile Lambert (52) and Tyler Joshua Williams (20) with numerous property related offences due to their alleged involvement.

Both men were detained at the Provincial Remand Centre.

INSIDER COMMENTARY:

Imagine the coincidence of members of the District 3 Crime Unit being approximately seventy (70) kilometres out of their jurisdiction when Lambert and his criminal protegé happened to be doing a B&E in Morris, Manitoba.

As Lambert has probably already found out through disclosure, his arrest was not a fortunate coincidence for the Police, rather, it was a direct result of exceptional Detective work.

Catching serial property offenders is no easy undertaking.  Committed offenders like Lambert spend decades honing their skills and benefit from the education they receive from Law Enforcement every time they’re arrested.  Knowledge of Police tactics is an essential component of the serial property offenders skill set.

I know of what I speak.

On April 16, 2006, I accepted the position of Sergeant in charge of the District 6 Crime Office.  The position meant I had ownership of all criminal incidents that occurred in the largest Police District in the City of Winnipeg.

After settling into my chair I was almost immediately beset upon by a hungry young female Detective who was working a file that was causing her a great deal of frustration.  The subject of her bane was none other than serial property offender Allen “Woody” Lambert.

According to the Detective, Lambert was suspected of committing literally hundreds of City wide residential Break & Enters.  He was an extremely active, experienced, sophisticated offender who was well versed in Police tactics and counter-surveillance techniques.

The investigator had information indicating Lambert was doing two or three residential Break & Enters every day of the week.  When Lambert got up in the morning he would have his breakfast and head out to “work.”  That meant breaking into people’s homes and stealing their cash, jewellery, lap top computers and other electronics.  Lambert was believed to be committing the B&E’s to feed a serious drug addiction.

With limited resources, the Crime Unit had been struggling in their efforts to put him on ice.

After reviewing the files it was clear Lambert had to be the Crime Unit’s number one priority.  It was time to connect resources and re-focus efforts to end his crime spree.

It wouldn’t take long.

On May 12, 2006, Lambert found himself wearing a pair of shiny handcuffs courtesy of the District Six Crime Unit.  A combination of team work, dedication, commitment and a bit of luck resulted in his arrest for two (2) residential Break & Enters.

In typical “old school” criminal style, Lambert took his medicine and promptly plead guilty to the offences as charged.  He ended up catching a two (2) year sentence to be served in a Federal Penitentiary.

On March 26, 2008, Lambert was released on Parole and took up residence in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  His sentence expired on December 24, 2008.  Prior to his release I circulated an information bulletin warning Saskatchewan Police Agencies of his pending release.  There could be no doubt Lambert was going to get right back to business when he was released from jail.

Nothing much has changed since the District 6 Crime Unit collared “Woody” Lambert back in 2006.  He’s still breaking into people’s homes and stealing their valued possessions.  I’m confident he’s still struggling with his addiction issues.

So the question needs to be asked, “What do we do with the “Woody” Lambert’s of the world?”

Serial property offenders like Lambert are responsible for making significant contributions to the crime rates that plague the City of Winnipeg.  I can say that with confidence because crime analysis showed a dramatic decrease in residential break and enters after Lambert’s arrest.

These crimes have a profound effect on the decent people they victimize.  With every break and enter comes damage to property, costly insurance deductibles and increases to insurance premiums.  The loss of personal property and money often pales in comparison to the loss of safety and security people suffer after the sanctity of their homes have been violated.

It doesn’t seem that jail has been all that effective when it comes to dealing with serial property offenders like “Woody” Lambert.

Is some form of meaningful restorative justice a possibility?

Would habitual criminals and serial offenders buy into the program or is jail the only answer for this select breed of criminal?

It seems to me that we have to make a choice.  If a restorative justice approach doesn’t work for these offenders then maybe we should consider enhanced sentencing provisions for serial property offenders.

When does the protection of the public become a serious consideration when dealing with these prolific criminals?

It seems that the time has come for Justice Officials, Police, Corrections and Social Agencies to put their collective heads together to innovate and explore the possibilities.

After all, we are only limited by the boundaries of our imaginations.

2 Comments

  1. How do you figure?

  2. Their both inocent people

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