A serial burglar who snuck into unlocked North Vancouver homes in the middle of the night, stole car keys and then drove off with the vehicles, eventually leading police on a high-speed chase, has had an appeal of several convictions tossed by the B.C. Court of Appeal.
Robert Balfour Logan, 46, of North Vancouver was sentenced to eight years in jail in September of 2010 for 11 offences committed in June 2009.
Logan was nabbed June 18, 2009 after breaking into a house on Fairmont Road in Edgemont while the residents were asleep.
Logan had slipped into the home through an unlocked kitchen window, pocketed several hundred dollars in cash and a set of car keys, and then drove away in the victims' Acura SUV.
When police spotted him in the stolen car on Fern Street and put on their sirens, Logan hit the gas, leading police on a high-speed chase. The Acura sideswiped two other cars before crashing into a parked car, at which point Logan took off on foot.
He was found a short distance away. Following his arrest for that escapade, Logan was charged with five other residential break-ins in North Vancouver that had taken place in the three weeks before that.
All cases involved someone who had slipped into homes through an unlocked back window or door in the middle of the night while residents slept.
In all cases, only cash and vehicle keys were taken, although in one case a resident reported $1,700 missing from a briefcase that had been in the trunk of a car.
In a three-week spree starting May 26, a Subaru, a Cadillac, a Mercedes, a Jeep, a Honda and a Lexus were all stolen. In all cases except one, the vehicles were found legally parked within a few blocks of Logan's home in the 100-block of West 12th Street with the keys either on the floor or on the seat inside the car in plain view. The Crown prosecutor relied on "similar-fact" evidence to finger Logan as the culprit in those thefts.
In his appeal, Logan's lawyer argued there was nothing linking Logan to the earlier break-and-enters apart from the proximity of the abandoned vehicles to his residence. He said the original trial judge made a mistake in determining the offences were "strikingly similar." He added the similar features of the crimes weren't unusual and the area where the vehicles were left is one that attracts criminal activities.
But three appeal court judges didn't agree, saying there were enough similar features for the judge's findings to be considered reasonable.
Logan has a string of convictions for property offences in North Vancouver, going back to 1997.
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