Bail denied for suspect in stolen property crime spree

A search warrant executed on a Penticton residence emerged in court Thursday, revealing a laundry list of allegedly stolen property

  • Jun. 23, 2016 11:00 a.m.

The details of a search warrant executed on a Penticton residence emerged in court Thursday, revealing a laundry list of allegedly stolen property with one of three people facing charges being denied bail.

Mika Lee Grgich, 30, is charged with two counts of possession of stolen property under $5,000 as well as possessing a firearm knowing it is unauthorized, breaking and entering and careless use or storage of a firearm in relation to an ongoing police investigation, which Crown counsel anticipated would turn up further charges.

Crown counsel Vernon Frolick alleged a Penticton resident returned to his Newton Drive home on June 13 in the early morning hours to find a break-in had occured. Security cameras, he said, shows three individuals that are alleged to be Grgich, Aaron Ceretti, 29, and Rick Meier who Crown said is still at large and facing charges. A fourth person driving the vehicle was not identified.

Crown alleged the video footage shows the individuals leaving the property with TVs, stereos and other items. The property owner advised American currency was also missing. Later that morning, police attended Grgich’s residence to find her wearing the same clothes as seen on the security camera footage and arrested her, Crown said. Also, in plain view in her residence, a set of black speakers alleged to be taken in the break and enter earlier in the evening and other property including a Canon camera were seen by police.

RCMP members, awaiting a search warrant on the residence, noticed a male attempting to enter through the back door which turned out to be Ceretti, who RCMP said was found with American cash on him after a search subsequent to his arrest. Crown alleged drugs were found on Ceretti’s person.

After the search warrant was obtained, police located a stereo receiver, an iMac computer, a substance police believed to be heroin in a baggie, as well as perceived methamphetamine and residue of cocaine. A pry bar, a can of bear spray, a Samsung tablet, which when turned on revealed the email address of a resident of a home that was also the subject of a break and enter. Crown also alleged 7,500 pairs of jeans were found in stacks in the residence. A loaded 12-gauge shotgun, a machete, a Taser and a score sheet with drug trafficking information were also found. Multiple forms of identification not in the names of the residents and a black safe were allegedly found in the storage area of the residence, which Crown said was stolen in Naramata. Police later opened the safe to find a modified shotgun and ammunition. A Brazilian passport was also recovered and allegedly stolen from a residence earlier in June.

Crown said while Grgich and Ceretti were in cells they conversed, including making derogatory comments about police, and while police attempted to interview her she refused to comment and threw the police tape recorder across the room.

Grgich is alleging mistreatment while in custody. Defence counsel Robert Maxwell said his client was on the receiving end of “three solid punches to the back of the head” from police after being uncooperative during an interview.

Prior to the incident, Maxwell said his client did have a conversation with police, and said she doesn’t know anything about the firearms allegedly located at the residence.

“She’s never seen or touched the gun before,” Maxwell said. “She’s never owned firearms, they scare her. She’ll admit to the bear mace and the Taser. So I don’t have an angel here with little wings flapping around.”

Maxwell said Ceretti had taken ownership of all the items in the house aside from the guns in a prior court appearance.

Grgich, who appeared via video, was sobbing during the hearing.

Judge Gail Sinclair denied bail saying it was “absolutely necessary for the protection of the public.”

“Number one, Ms. Grgich can take up her issues with police in the proper form, not here today. Number two we have evidence here of a crime spree involving serious offences and break and enters. Number three, I have known Ms. Grgich and dealt with her for a long time, she is not a naive person,” Sinclair said.

The matter was put over to July 6, where Ceretti is set to appear in court as well. None of the allegations have been proven in court.