Alleged con man has long record

Similar crimes dating back to 1990s

Paul HENDERSON

Black Press

An Abbotsford man arrested for allegedly committing more than a dozen “confidence scams” in Chilliwack and Agassiz before Christmas has an extensive record for similar crimes dating back to the 1990s.

Donald Robert Quinnell was arrested Jan. 2 and faces numerous charges in connection with the door-to-door frauds and thefts that targeted senior citizens.

In 2008, Quinnell was sentenced to six years in prison in Calgary after he was convicted of going to seniors’ complexes under the pretense of selling fresh fish, alcohol, cigarettes and other items.

He would take cash deposits, then take off. In some cases he would steal money, wallets or credit cards.

At the 2008 sentencing hearing in Calgary for the crimes in which he stole more than $15,000, his lawyer said Quinnell had a “pathological gambling addiction.”

Earlier that year, Quinnell also pleaded guilty to a similar string of scams in Vancouver and was handed a 25-month prison sentence.

Last June in Deroche, a 73-year-old resident called police after Quinnell and a 21-year-old woman came with a baby to his door and asked for water for an overheating vehicle. When the resident returned, he found his 83-year-old wife’s purse had been stolen.

The pair were arrested later that day. Quinnell received a four-month conditional sentence (house arrest) in September on charges of theft and possession of stolen property.

In December, Chilliwack RCMP reported they had received complaints of a man showing up to residences asking for money.

In these instances, and similar ones in Agassiz, the man allegedly reported he needed a ride to the hospital and money to pay for various things, including an ambulance or to get a vehicle out of impound.

In a case recounted to Black Press by an alleged victim, a man rang the doorbell of her home in a gated community and pretended to be the son of a neighbour.

He said he needed a ride to the hospital, and eventually convinced her to give up $400. He then allegedly stole her cellphone and $60 when she wasn’t looking.

Quinnell is next due in court Jan. 26 in Chilliwack.