Convicted con man Donald Robert Quinnell was sentenced to four years in jail in 2015 for his confidence scams on elderly victims in Chilliwack and Agassiz. Now, in January 2020, he is facing 39 charges for the same in North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Vancouver. (RCMP)

Convicted Fraser Valley con man facing 39 charges in Vancouver area

Donald Quinnell got four years prison in 2015, again facing fraud, theft, stolen credit card charges

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.

• READ MORE: Four years in prison for Chilliwack con man

“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.”

• READ MORE: Convicted Chilliwack con man wanted for confidence frauds in Metro Vancouver

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.

“North Vancouver RCMP had issued public alerts about Mr. Quinnell in September of 2019, both in an effort to further the police investigation, and as a warning to the public, in particular for seniors,” DeVries said. “We worked in partnership with West Vancouver Police Department, Vancouver Police Department, and other agencies across the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley to capture Mr. Quinnell, and to protect seniors in our communities.”

A West Vancouver Police Department spokesperson called the arrest an example of good communication and collaborative policing between agencies.

“Serial criminals don’t care about jurisdiction boundaries. For this very reason, we work closely with police services throughout the Lower Mainland,” Const. Kevin Goodmurphy said.

Both Goodmurphy and DeVries held a press conference on Jan. 14 about Quinnell, and also spread the word about advice to seniors to help them avoid fraud. They provided a link to the RCMP’s Seniors Guidebook to Safety and Security.

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.


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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