Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Prolific burglar heads back to jail

Charged in new series of 'sophisticated' jobs

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A notorious burglar a judge once described as a "professional career criminal," is back behind bars.

Winnipeg police said Cary Preston, 36, was arrested a week ago and charged in connection with several break-and-enters between March and October, where more than $100,000 in cash was stolen from ATMs and safes.

Preston was released from prison earlier this year after establishing a reputation as a sophisticated break-in artist. That notoriety earned him a seven-year prison sentence for a series of commercial break-ins dating back to 2002.

Police allege Preston was involved break-ins at several restaurants and businesses across the city earlier this year.

"The break-ins were sophisticated in nature," police spokeswoman Patrol Sgt. Monica Stothers said. "Alarms were circumvented and holes cut in walls to enter the businesses and avoid alarm sensors."

Stothers said once inside the buildings, the suspects stole safes and ATMs.

Stothers said police initiated Project Relapse after the initial break-ins, which a police source said were similar in approach to a series of offences committed a few years ago.

Preston is charged with 11 counts of breaking and entering.

A second man, Kyle Robert Barr, 20, has been charged with breaking and entering and breaching probation.

Preston pleaded guilty in June 2010 for a crime spree that involved drilling, tunnelling and smashing his way into various stores, restaurants and safes.

Winnipeg police obtained a warrant to install a tracking device on Preston's vehicle after he was identified as a suspect in an attempted break-and-enter at a restaurant in early 2007. The tracking device linked Preston to a break-in at the Riverside Inn, where he dug his way through the walls and cut into a safe.

Out on bail, and his vehicle still being monitored, police tracked Preston on Christmas Day 2007 to a closed Tim Hortons, where he used a crowbar to force his way inside. He was arrested the next day and spent the next 21/2 years in custody before his trial.

While in custody, police obtained a DNA sample that tied him to five similar break-ins dating back to 2002. In those cases, Preston had cut himself on broken glass and left behind blood police had collected as evidence.

At his sentencing, Preston was given double credit for the 26 months spent in custody. The judge gave him a seven-year sentence, which left him 27 months to serve.

He was released earlier this year.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 3, 2012 B3

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