Two of the top 10 most wanted auto theft suspects in B.C. had their bail hearings pushed forward after a brief appearance at the Penticton Courthouse.
Matthew Soper, 28, and Laetitia Acera, 21, were arrested during a police raid on the Best Western Hotel in Penticton in the early morning hours on May 7.
Soper appeared via video from Surrey, where he and Acera were remanded earlier this month. Soper’s bail hearing was adjourned to June 3 to give him time to attain and consult a lawyer. Acera also appeared by video and is being represented by Paul Janzen out of New Westminster. Her bail hearing was adjourned to May 27 to give her time to consult counsel.
Soper is facing 22 charges while Acera has 17 charges listed. Soper’s alleged offences include possession of stolen property over $5,000, identity theft, possession and use of a stolen credit card and possessing a weapon for dangerous purposes. Acera faces a similar list of charges including personation with intent to gain advantage, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, failure to stop at an accident and fraud.
The offences were allegedly committed across the province from Penticton to New Westminster, Surrey, Maple Ridge and Burnaby.
Members of the Penticton RCMP were assisted by the Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team (IMPACT) and members of the Kelowna RCMP during the arrests. Penticton RCMP said an investigation into numerous break ins of vehicles and residences in both Okanagan Falls and Penticton revealed a number of credit and bank cards stolen were being quickly used around Penticton.
Police identified a possible suspect vehicle at the hotel, which was believed to be stolen out of White Rock. According to RCMP, the preliminary investigation shows Soper was involved in the recent rash of theft in Penticton and Okanagan Falls.