Police were on the scene at an Abbotsford Subway restaurant on Jan. 11, 2020 after an armed robbery. Two men were arrested, and they were later charged with several other robberies in the Lower Mainland. (Kevin MacDonald file photo)

Police were on the scene at an Abbotsford Subway restaurant on Jan. 11, 2020 after an armed robbery. Two men were arrested, and they were later charged with several other robberies in the Lower Mainland. (Kevin MacDonald file photo)

Province wants to keep truck it says was used in Lower Mainland armed robberies

Vehicle owner was dating one of two men now facing more than 35 charges for 16 incidents

An Abbotsford woman who briefly dated a man later arrested as a suspect in 10 Lower Mainland armed robberies is fighting to keep the truck that the province’s civil forfeiture office wants to permanently seize.

The province alleges in a notice of civil claim, filed recently in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, that the 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 was used in robberies in December 2019 and January 2020.

The lawsuit states that Clint Billy, 33, and another man – previously identified by The Abbotsford News as Justin Randy Walsh, 22 – are suspects in a total of 16 robberies at banks, liquor stores, gas stations and restaurants, and that Billy ended up with $18,000.

Billy is a suspect in 10 of the incidents, the documents state.

The lawsuit indicates that officers conducted surveillance on the pair on Jan. 3 and 11, 2020. At the time, Billy was dating a woman who owned a Dodge Ram 1500.

While under surveillance, the trio were seen several times in the woman’s truck, the lawsuit states.

The documents indicate that on Jan. 11, police saw the two men enter a Subway restaurant on McCallum Road in Abbotsford. They were wearing disguises and pulled out guns – later discovered to be fake – and demanded cash from the till and a metal lock box, the lawsuit says.

The pair then ran away, but Billy was located by a police dog about two blocks away from the Subway. Walsh was also arrested.

RELATED: Two men arrested in connection with 16 Lower Mainland armed robberies

RELATED: Two men face 35 charges for Lower Mainland armed-robbery spree

The lawsuit states that the Dodge Ram was used in the robberies, and it was seized by RCMP on Jan. 12, 2020.

The province initiated forfeiture proceedings against the vehicle, saying it was “an instrument of unlawful activity” and that if the vehicle or proceeds from it were released to the defendants, they would “likely be used for unlawful activity.”

The documents claim that the woman “knew or ought to have known” that Billy was using the truck for unlawful activity.

But in her response to the notice of civil claim, the woman said she dated Billy for only six weeks, the vehicle was not used in any robberies, and she had no idea what Billy was doing when she was not with him.

The single mother said the truck had been purchased by her mom and given to her as an inheritance after the death of her godfather. It had served as her “reliable family vehicle” for 10 years, she wrote.

“I did not use my vehicle for any type of criminal activity … I am not a criminal nor do I plan on becoming one,” she said.

“Clint Billy is not in my life and never will be again.”

B.C.’s civil forfeiture office can initiate civil court proceedings to take away property such as vehicles, cash and homes that are believed to have been used in unlawful activity or purchased from the proceeds of such activity.

Billy and Walsh face a total of more than 35 charges, which are still making their way through the courts, including robbery, using an imitation firearm and disguising their faces with the intent of committing an offence.

The robberies occurred in Langley, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Maple Ridge and Surrey.

ALSO READ: Two Abbotsford properties part of Calgary investigation into illegal cannabis operations



vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CourtCrime

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition after Harrison Mills incident, homicide investigators deployed

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Immanuel Covenant Reformed Church at 35063 Page Rd. in Abbotsford was among three Fraser Valley churches that the B.C. government tried to get a court injunction against for holding in-person services. (Google Maps)
B.C. churches in court to attempt to overturn ban on in-person services

A judge will hear arguments Monday through Wednesday

Chilliwack's David Leger couldn't see Mt. Cheam for all the smog back in 1998, and that led him to eventually found Loop Energy, a pioneer in hydrogen fuel-cell technology. (Facebook photo)
Loop Energy: How a humble Chilliwack startup became a multi-million dollar fuel cell pioneer

This is part 1 of a 3-part series on the rise of Loop Energy, now being traded publically on the TSX

Hospital outbreaks included in Fraser Health update Feb. 28, 2021. (Black Press file)
Fraser Health declares COVID-19 outbreaks at Chilliwack General and Surrey Memorial

The medicine units are temporarily closed but ERs remain open, according to Fraser Health update

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

A GoFundMe campaign for Riley Stevens and his family has raised more than $5,700 since launching last week. (Contributed photo)
White Rock mom of sick tot ‘totally blown away’ by donations, offers help

GoFundMe campaign to help family of Riley Stevens crests $5,700

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

Inez Louis, who is strategic operations planner with the health department in the Sto:lo Service Agency, talks about infection control in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Nurse Inez Louis explains how infection control is not social control

The difference is important for Indigenous people to hear in the context of Canada’s colonial past

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

Most Read