Police are crediting a sharp-eyed elderly woman with helping to secure an arrest in a string of break and enters in the Etobicoke area.
Clifford Bell, 23, was arrested on May 18, 2011 and charged with numerous counts of break and enter as well as failure to comply with probation. In total he’s facing 28 charges.
Mr. Bell’s 19-year-old girlfriend is also facing charges.
Police allege Bell was responsible for at least 24 break-ins, with most occurring in south Etobicoke during daylight hours. Investigators displayed up to $30,000 worth of goods on Friday, and they are hoping to reunite victims with their items.
Detectives said the investigation is still “active”, and they maintain the goods displayed Friday represent just a fraction of the total allegedly snagged by the suspect. Items like gold, police contend, were quickly moved.
“Anything he could get for a quick sale, has been sold,” noted Det. Cst. Marland Thompson.
“He took anything and everything.”
Thompson said Bell was previously arrested in connection to break-ins in cottage country, but wasn’t well known to Toronto police.
He ended up on their radar after a traffic stop in March. In mid-April, an elderly neighbour of a break-in victim called police, giving them a description of a suspect. After that police started tracking Bell, and about a month later they made the arrest.
Police are now giving members of the public the opportunity to claim stolen items, which have been meticulously catalogued.
“There’s a large amount of property and we are having trouble locating some of the victims,” said Thompson.
Members of the public can reclaim items on June 28 and July 24, between 12-7pm, at Toronto Police College, 70 Birmingham Street.
Show up with I.D., and any photos or descriptions of property, as well as police reports.