Witnesses begin testifying in Kamloops motel robbery case

KAMLOOPS - The first of three witnesses has been called to the stand in a case against two men accused of breaking into a motel room, ransacking the place, and stealing jewelry and other valuable items.

Kamloops RCMP officer Cpl. Jeff Bingley told a Kamloops Supreme Court today, June 15, he responded to a break and enter call at the Columbia Motor Inn on Oct. 17, 2015.

The manager of the motel said someone had broken into a room on the second floor. 

Bingley arrived and saw from outside two men coming out of a room on the second floor onto the balcony. He immediately went up to the second floor and arrested two men who were inside the room.

Bingley identifies the two men as Corey Santoro and Dustin Braaten, who appeared in court today. Bingley told the court he recognized Braaten from dealing with him before.

Braaten is facing charges of break and enter and possessing a controlled substance. Santoro is facing charges of robbery and break and enter.

After the pair was brought in to the police station, Bingley says he saw Santoro being searched, and jewelry was pulled out of his pocket.

In the courtroom, Bingley presented a bat which is believed to be used in the break-in, and three bags of stolen jewelry.

Abhishek Chandra and Alicia Pala were renting room 254 in the motel when two men broke in. They were told to leave and went down to the office and asked the manager to call 911.

The couple fled Kamloops before testifying last month, but witness warrants were issued and they are expected to appear in court this afternoon.

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