Primary investigator in Valentine's Day kidnapping testifies in Kamloops court | Kamloops News | iNFOnews

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Primary investigator in Valentine's Day kidnapping testifies in Kamloops court

September 24, 2020 - 2:07 PM

The primary investigator in a high profile 2019 armed robbery and kidnapping testified in Kamloops today at the trial of one of the accused.

Michael James Mathieson, born in 1982, is charged with robbery, using an imitation firearm and unlawful confinement.

Kamloops RCMP officer Const. Aaron Penner was called to the witness stand today, Sept. 24, and questioned by Crown prosecutor Marko Vojvodic about a vehicle search he conducted as a part of the investigation two days following the robbery and kidnapping, Feb. 14, 2019.

Court heard the vehicle searched by Const. Penner was the same one stopped by police in Falkland, Feb. 15, 2019. The occupants of the vehicle were the kidnapped woman and two suspects, who were arrested.

In the vehicle, Penner found a box of ammunition, a loaded firearm, two silencers and firearm accessories, including optic attachments used to facilitate aiming.

Penner was then cross-examined by defence lawyer Dustin Gagnon, who asked the officer about the statements provided to him by the kidnapping victim.

Penner confirmed that in her initial statement, the victim said she was not kidnapped, but in a second statement provided in June 2019, she contradicted her previous statement claiming that she was kidnapped. He said the victim was emotional when giving her second statement, and although certain topics were hard to broach, he would not describe her as evasive.

Court also heard there was no call made to 911 and police were alerted to the kidnapping and robbery at the Acadian Inn in Kamloops through a wiretap, which was authorized as a part of a separate investigation.

Gagnon asked the officer if he had considered whether the incident was “a fake kidnapping,” to which the Penner responded the evidence did not suggest that conclusion.

A woman and two men armed with guns held up two men and a woman during a robbery in downtown Kamloops, Feb. 14, 2019, according to an RCMP release detailing the incident. The suspects kidnapped the woman and escaped in one of the other victim’s vehicle. The investigation led officers first to a home on Dallas Drive, which was found empty, then to a Kelowna apartment on Bernard Avenue where police arrested two suspects.

On the morning of Feb. 15, police stopped a vehicle near Falkland north of Vernon. The kidnapped woman was found uninjured and two suspects, a man and a woman were arrested. Police also seized firearms from the vehicle.

Four weeks have been scheduled for Mathieson’s trial, however, the Crown informed court today it would likely be complete within three weeks or less.

Another suspect in the incident, Justin William Daniels, pleaded guilty, Sept. 21, to robbery with a firearm, kidnapping using a firearm and robbery. His sentencing was adjourned to Oct. 9.

A third man involved in the incident, Robert James Rennie, is facing a charge of assault causing bodily harm.

Mathieson’s trial will continue tomorrow at the Kamloops Law Courts.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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