'Rising crime' in Gastown: Nightclub burglarized 3 nights in a row, man stabbed by stranger, police say


A single business in Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood was targeted three times in one weekend by burglars, police say in an overview of several crimes reported in the area in just a few days.

Officers said they were called to a nightclub in the area of Abbot and West Cordova streets multiple times for reports of break-ins and thefts.

They said bottles of liquor were missing and property damage was noted following the early-morning incidents.

While the Vancouver Police Department did not provide the name of the venue in a news release, it appeared to be the Clough Club.

According to police, the final break-in was Sunday morning. Someone saw a man break a window to get inside and called 911 to report it.

"This allowed our officers to discreetly enter the area, make observations and arrest the suspect before he was able to flee," Sgt. Steve Addison said.

Kevin Willard has been charged with one count of break and enter tied to Sunday's report.

The VPD is still investigating possible links to the other two break-ins. Police have not said whether they suspect the 37-year-old was involved in those as well.

The department said the three crimes cost thousands of dollars in damage and product loss.

The Sunday break-in was not the only incident that brought police to the Gastown area over the weekend. An encounter that began with an employee addressing a maskless customer ended in aggressive behaviour and racial slurs at a store in the same area as the bar.

Also on West Cordova, more than $10,000 items were stolen from a store near Richards Street after a break-in early Friday morning. Police allege they later found a man trying to sell some of the items in the Downtown Eastside.

Charges have not been approved, as that investigation is ongoing.

Most alarmingly, officers were called to a social housing building on nearby Water Street Sunday after a man was stabbed in the neck, shoulder and abdomen.

The victim told police he did not know the person who stabbed him. Officers say a suspect, who is known to officers, was identified through surveillance camera video and arrested.

That suspect has not been publicly identified, other than that he is a 33-year-old man.

"Business owners and their staff are already struggling to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions that have affected their ability to make ends meet," Addison said. "Rising crime and public safety issues are compounding the pressures they face."

The VPD did not provide a comparison for the same period in other years in Monday's news release, but said there have been 82 violent crimes and 259 property crimes reported in Gastown since April.

The department said the numbers are likely much higher, as many go unreported.