The new Surrey home of Rich Choponis was broken into soon after he and his wife moved in at the start of 2019. (Rick Choponis photo)

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP property crime investigation leads to Langley

The victim of a costly break and enter, and ID theft is frustrated with delays in the case.

Rick Choponis saw a Langley Advance Times story online and photos about Surrey RCMP executing a warrant at a Langley City property on Friday and believes he spotted some of his stolen possessions in the pictures.

In early January, Choponis and his wife had about $100,000 worth of personal and work possessions stolen, and have since been victims of identity theft and cybercrimes.

The RCMP was at a home in the 5300 block of 200th Street midday March 8 executing a warrant related to a property crime in Surrey, said Surrey RCMP Cpl. Elenore Sturko.

On Jan. 1, Choponis and his wife moved from Alberta to South Surrey to expand his business, Ageneral Contracting Roofing Solutions, to B.C. They then returned to Alberta to finish a work project.

“On Jan. 8 or 9, the property manager asked ‘Did you leave the doors open in your house?’”

The couple drove 11 hours back from Alberta to find that everything had been stolen and the house was a mess.

[Story continues below video]

Few people knew of their moving plans.

“Somehow they knew that we weren’t there,” he said of the criminals. “Even my own employees didn’t know I was moving all my stuff over the holidays.”

Choponis estimates that $100,000 worth of property was stolen from the house, shed and work trailer. Taken were his car, which was bear sprayed, five computers, business papers, generators, a large amount of tools, furniture, rare guitars, and more. He said police told him very little of his property has been recovered.

But it’s been the length of time since the crime that has Choponis the most irate.

The couple has been dealing with both personal and business-related identity theft and cybercrimes using their stolen technology and their personal information.

“We had a heck of a time,” he said.

For instance, he was able to track the use of his computers and provided the information to police, but nothing was done at the time and the criminals had ample time to do more harm, he said.

“Within the first hour of me coming back [to B.C.]… I was getting pinged off the computer, that my [stolen] computer has gone online,” he said.

He’s so frustrated with what’s happened since the break and enter that he met with South Surrey MLA Gordie Hogg on Monday, March 11 to lobby for changes so people can protect themselves from cybercrime.

“He said it was something he would be bringing to Ottawa,” Choponis said of Hogg.

The business owner called this a “broken system” that allows criminals to steal IDs and change people’s lives so easily and noted that it impacts many Canadians.

Choponis noted that he would contact companies when his accounts were hacked or impacted only to be told they would not provide him information without police paperwork in place and that takes weeks to arrange.

That’s despite the fact that he’s given them permission to provide his information to the police as part of this investigation.

He said the companies allowed him to be victimized more than necessary because of the delays.

“[The criminals] got into my bank account,” he noted. “They changed my Bell account. They changed the call answering on my Bell account. They got into my wife’s bank account.”

They tried breaking into his business accounts.

“One night it was 15 attempts to get into my bank account,” he said.

Someone got a bank account in his name. Someone applied for credit cards in his name, saying they worked for his company.

“It all keeps coming from the same IP address,” Choponis noted.

The thieves tried to transfer $400 from his wife’s bank account to PayPal. The online payment firm sent out a security warning and the couple was able to stop the money transfer.

It will take a long time to put their personal and professional lives back together.

Choponis said this is clearly an organized effort and he wants to see more done to stop criminals from preying on Canadians.

“I’d sure like to put an end to this organized crime,” Choponis.

Sturko said this was a complicated investigation and is still ongoing.

The RCMP’s technology experts must still do more work on recovered equipment, for instance.

Further search warrants are required to look into the computer’s contents, she explained.

“It’s extremely frustrating for the person whose identity is stolen,” she added.

Under the warrant executed last week, the Surrey RCMP seized a variety of items including computers and other materials including stolen mail and stolen passports, Sturko said.

 

Surrey RCMP executed a search warrant at a Langley City property midday Friday. (Miranda Fatur/Langley Advance Times)

LAPS was on scene to control pets temporarily. (Miranda Fatur/Langley Advance Times)

Surrey RCMP executed a search warrant at a Langley City property midday Friday. (Miranda Fatur/Langley Advance Times)

Surrey RCMP helped a person on scene out of the back of a police vehicle. (Miranda Fatur/Langley Advance Times)

Just Posted

Langley comes out on top in Special Olympics

Langley basketball players in the A/B Division took first place over Kelowna.

Budget cuts at Kwantlen Polytechnic will mean larger classes

President of Kwantlen faculty association says spending on administration salaries is going up

Fraser Valley Thunderbirds take silver in finals of new minor midget hockey league

Team of mostly Langley players will have a new look in the second season

Langley tutor lauded on ice

Sylvia Lloyd was recognized for the work she does – paid and unpaid – helping tutor children.

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

Bodies of two missing teens recovered in reservoir along Kootenay River

Volkswagen Beetle drove off the road down a steep embankment and into the Pend d’Oreille River Sunday

40 records broken across B.C. as hot streak continues

Abbotsford hottest spot in Canada on Tuesday

B.C. wildfire prevention budget bulked up as dry spring unfolds

Night vision goggles tested for early detection effort

Vancouver driver ticketed twice within 6 minutes for same offence

The man was written up by two different officers for using an electronic device

B.C. teacher reprimanded after incident with Grade 11 student in school gym

Gregory Norman Brock was teaching at a high school in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District

B.C. man ‘parks’ horse during liquor store pit stop

As long as animal wasn’t jaywalking, no problem, says Parksville official

5 to start your day

Maple Ridge gym teacher punished after swearing at student, carfentanil found in 13 overdose deaths and more

Starbucks to test recyclable cups, redesign stores in B.C., U.S. cities

The company also said it plans to redesign its stores as it adapts to increasing mobile pick-up and delivery orders

Most Read