(Police handout/Kamloops RCMP)

(Police handout/Kamloops RCMP)

B.C. man dies in custody awaiting trial for Valentine’s Day robbery, kidnapping spree

Robert James Rennie, who was on the Kamloops RCMP’s most wanted list, passed away at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Coquitlam

  • Apr. 17, 2021 8:00 a.m.

-Kamloops This Week

A man charged in connection with Valentine’s Day robbery and kidnapping spree in Kamloops in 2019 has died in custody, while awaiting trial. Kamloops This Week has learned that Robert James Rennie, who was on the Kamloops RCMP’s most wanted list, passed away at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Coquitlam on March 12.

Rennie, 33, had a bail hearing the day before his death, which was adjourned. The charges against him were stayed by the Crown on the afternoon of March 12.

Both the BC Coroner’s Service and BC Corrections confirmed a death occurred at the facility on March 12, but did not confirm the person’s identity, citing privacy reasons. Another source confirmed to KTW the deceased was, in fact, Rennie.

While they would not confirm the identity, BC Corrections and BC Coroners said they are investigating the March 12 death.

“BC Corrections is investigating and will complete a review of the circumstances,” a spokesperson for BC Corrections told KTW in an email.

The spokesperson said the coroners service is also investigating “as they do in all unexpected and/or unnatural deaths” and look to determine how, where, when and by what means the individual came to their death. It is not clear at this time how Rennie died.

“As this is an open investigation, we are unable to provide any additional information,” a BC Coroners spokesperson told KTW via email.

Rennie had been on the lam for nearly a year when he was arrested by Vancouver Police during a 2 a.m. traffic stop on March 1. He was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for charges of armed robbery with a firearm, forcible confinement and an assault causing bodily harm — all stemming from the Valentine’s Day incident in 2019. Rennie was one of three men arrested in connection with a series of incidents, involving robbery, kidnapping and assault, spanning between Feb.13 and Feb. 14.

The other two men — Michael Mathieson and Justin Daniels — have since been sentenced.

Mathieson, 38, is serving six-and-a-half years in a federal prison, while Daniels, 40, pleaded guilty last August and was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in a federal penitentiary.

The robbery and kidnapping took place in the midst of a violent gang war and involved people active in the Kamloops drug trade. Police stumbled upon the kidnapping in progress in the early-morning hours of Feb. 14, 2019, while monitoring a wiretap as part of a separate, ongoing investigation. The violent spree began hours earlier, when a man was beaten and robbed inside a suite at a Sahali motel.

That was followed by a visit to a downtown motel, where assailants held a couple against their will and lured an acquaintance to the scene with the promise of money. The target arrived with his girlfriend and another man and both men were robbed, with the woman taken against her will to Kelowna. There, she she was handed over to a driver to be taken back to Kamloops and, on the drive back, she was rescued by police during a high-risk traffic stop in Falkland.

Mathieson, Rennie and Daniels were arrested separately on three different days later that month.

Rennie, who had obtained bail following his arrest, fled from a halfway house in April 2020 and failed to show up for his trial last September, before being apprehended this past March.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Crime

Just Posted

Frauds and Scams: Don’t Be A Victim webinar May 19 will cover current scams and how to avoid them. (Chilliwack Financial Literacy Committee)
Avoiding scams and frauds in focus with interactive webinar

Chilliwack Financial Literacy Committee hopes to help people ID tops scams in circulation

The new emergency department at Abbotsford Regional Hospital and Conference Centre is slated to open June 8. (Screenshot from Province of BC video)
Expanded emergency department slated to open in June at Abbotsford Regional Hospital

Project cost $15 million with an additional $1.25 million donated for equipment

Abbotsford Christian Middle & Secondary School closed until May 25 after 10-day exposure. (File photo)
Entire population of Abbotsford Christian Middle & Secondary recommended for testing after COVID cluster

Several staff and students affected after continuous 10-day exposure; campuses closed until May 25

People take part in the Father’s Day Walk Run for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC in Chilliwack on June 21, 2015. This year’s event will still go ahead, but will not be an organized due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Progress file)
Awareness, funds for prostate cancer still needed in pandemic, says Chilliwack man

People to walk/run their own route for Father’s Day fundraiser event for prostate cancer

Jonathan Prest had to climb way up to the top of a dead red cedar tree to rescue a terrified cat, but he made it up and down successfully. (Facebook photos)
Rosedale tree cutter rescues cat stuck 100 feet up a dead and dried-out cedar

Jonathan Prest put himself in extreme peril to get a terrified cat out of a dangerous situation

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Mike Farnworth, pre-pandemic. (File photo)
Surrey Police recruitment not distracting cops from shootings, Farnworth says

‘That’s simply not the case,’ Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth told the Now-Leader on Friday

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardner finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

RCMP officers stand near a body covered with a tarp in the parking lot of a shopping complex after one person was killed and two others were injured during a shooting in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Man, 23, killed in latest Lower Mainland shooting had gang ties: IHIT

Jaskeert Kalkat was one of the three people hit by gunfire at Market Crossing mall at around 8:30 p.m.

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

Police are asking the public for help identifying a suspect who allegedly hurled anti-Asian slurs at a family in a Richmond drive-through on May 1. (Benjamin Wong/Screen grab)
Suspect at large in racist tirade at Richmond drive-thru, says RCMP

The Caucasian man was recorded May 1 yelling anti-Asian slurs at a Richmond family in the lineup

Most Read