The B.C. Prosecution Service has approved 39 charges against a Chilliwack con artist known for targeting the elderly with calculated scams.
After facing 22 charges and being sentenced to four years in prison in 2015 for a string of confidence scams in Chilliwack and Agassiz, Donald Robert Quinnell is alleged to have stepped it up. He now faces 39 charges for a series of alleged thefts and frauds in August and September of 2019, this time in North and West Vancouver.
Quinnell’s well-honed technique is to prey upon older, trusting individuals with complicated and confusing ruses.
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 then works his way into their car or home, and then steals wallets, purses and other valuables.
Not only have his thefts from seniors been called “manipulative and deplorable” by police, but Quinnell even used his own baby as part of a theft more than five years ago, a child that was two-and-a-half when he was sentenced in 2015.
“Sometimes he plays the victim and other times the saviour,” said Sgt. DeVries of the North Vancouver RCMP in early September when Quinnell was wanted. “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.”
Quinnell was arrested by Vancouver Police Department on Sept. 12, 2019 on a Canadawide warrant for allegedly breaching his probation from his Chilliwack convictions, and has been held in custody since then.
Nine of the new charges alleged against him are for wallet and credit card thefts, and the remaining 30 charges stem from allegations of frauds committed using those stolen credit cards.
In light of today's press conference, (https://t.co/DpjlfR7RZZ) here's some really good information about #seniors safety, in particular, advice on ways to prevent becoming a victim of various types of frauds. https://t.co/2yMNCBwTxY pic.twitter.com/dtnIe9XiIE— North Vancouver RCMP (@nvanrcmp) January 14, 2020
When Quinnell was convicted in Chilliwack in 2015, he offered no sympathy or apology to the victims of his crimes. Instead, he offered a tearful apology to his family, and he blamed his crimes on his addiction to cocaine.
His lawyer also complained that Quinnell had been beaten up at the North Fraser Pre-Trial Centre when fellow inmates found out what he had done.
He is next due in provincial court in North Vancouver Jan. 21 for a scheduled bail hearing.
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