A convicted Chilliwack con artist who targets the elderly is back at it, this time in North and West Vancouver.
|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 September 2019, he is wanted for the same in North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Vancouver. (RCMP)|
Donald Robert Quinnell was sentenced to four years in prison in 2015 after pleading guilty to 22 counts of fraud and theft under $5,000 for a string of incidents in Chilliwack and Agassiz over Christmas in 2014.
At the time of sentencing he had a two-and-a-half-year-old child, a child he used in at least one of the scams when he or she was a baby.
Quinnell’s well-honed technique is to prey upon older, trusting individuals with complicated, confusing and calculated scams.
Now North Vancouver RCMP are echoing warnings issued by the Vancouver Police Department and West Vancouver Police Department about a recent series of confidence frauds targeting elderly victims. Between mid-July and as recently Sept. 4, multiple incidents were reported in North Vancouver, West Vancouver and Vancouver.
Quinnell, of Chilliwack, is the suspect and is arrestable for at least nine offences in North Vancouver, and multiple charges in all three jurisdictions are anticipated in the near future.
Given his recent release from jail on the 2015 conviction, Quinnell is also arrestable on an outstanding Canadawide warrant for breach of probation.
“Sometimes he plays the victim and other times the saviour,” said Sgt. DeVries of the North Vancouver RCMP. “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.”
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.
He is not accused of physical violence to his victims.
Sgt. DeVries said it makes police officers angry they have to tell the public they need to think twice before giving or accepting kindness from strangers.
“That’s not the kind of society we’re all trying to cultivate,” he said.
“Knowing this guy is watching the elderly in order to find his next victim, we hope everyone else will also be watching for this guy, and keeping a close eye on the elderly in our community.”
Anyone who sees the suspect, or witnesses anything suspicious that seems to fit the profile of this crime, is asked to call 911 immediately. Anyone who may have been a victim is asked to call their local police department to report it.
Donald Robert Quinnell is described as a male Caucasian; 6’1”; 190 pounds; with short, brown hair; and brown eyes. He is 52 years old with light to medium complexion. He is well-dressed and groomed, and may be wearing glasses and/or a ball cap.
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 for the hurt he had caused his family and himself.
“I truly am a good person when cocaine is not ruining my life,” he said on Dec. 3, 2015.
His lawyer also complained that Quinnell had been beaten up twice at the North Fraser Pre-Trial Centre when fellow inmates found out what he had done.