“Prolific and sophisticated” criminal arrested

By Ron Fanfair, Toronto Police Service Published: 1:45 p.m. February 27, 2014
Updated: 3:21 p.m. February 27, 2014

Failure to obey a stop sign led to the arrest of a suspect wanted in connection with a series of break and enters in high-end residences in the Greater Toronto Area since around October 2010.

A display of old coins, bills and other jewellery recovered from the break-and-enters
Some of the recovered goods on diplay

At a press conference at police headquarters on Feb. 27, D/Sgt. Savas Kyriacou, of 13 Division, said the suspect was arrested on Jan. 31 after a short pursuit by 22 Division officers conducting observations at a traffic point.

"At the time of the arrest, he was allegedly in possession of stolen items, including watches, other jewelry and quite a bit of cash," said Kyriacou.

Search warrants executed at locations associated with him turned up stolen jewelry and equipment that he used to get into homes.”

Shane Gagnon, 43, of Bradford is facing multiple break-and-enter charges.

It's alleged that the suspect entered hundreds of homes in Vaughan, Richmond Hill and Toronto and stole millions of dollars worth of cash and jewelry.

A large assortment of various makes and models of wrist watches on display
Stolen wrist watches on display

Over 800 pictures of recovered property have been posted at  http://tps.to/spiderman. Investigators are asking victims of break-and-enters to review them. It's worth checking back periodically as photos will be updated as the investigation progresses.

"He's one of the most prolific and sophisticated persons we have come across when it comes to this kind of crime," said Kryiacou.

"He has the physical ability, he prepared himself and he obviously had the equipment."

Police allege that Gagnon used spy cameras, parabolic listening devices, ropes and other instruments to gain  entry into homes by climbing onto the roof where he cut a hole and lowered himself into the attic and then into rooms, bypassing home alarm systems.

"We looked at a lot of those occurrences and it became apparent to us they had a lot of things in common," said Kyriacou.

"There were similarities that we noticed and we started an investigation involving several Divisions."

York Police was also involved in the investigation, dubbed Project Spiderman.

City of Toronto map with three circled areas which were targeted with break-and-enters
Areas of entries targeted by Shane Gagnon

Kyriacou is appealing to victims of these break-and-enters to call police at (416) 808-3219. They can also go  http://tps.to/spidermanor e-mail police atGagnon.32division@torontopolice.on.ca.

He also offered some crime-prevention tips that may help to avert break-and-enters.

"Please remove items from around the home that may provide access to second floors or the roof," he said.

"Don’t leave any ladders out in the backyard...Lighting is very important and ensure that there are motion detectors installed around the home’s perimeter. Sliding doors are another area where people easily access homes. We can avoid their removal by putting a bar right across the track and also a lock-pin into the door. If you have an alarm system, please use it, especially when you go to sleep. Be beware of any suspicious persons in the neighbourhood and make a call to the police. And, obviously, good neighbours watching each other makes for a safer and more secure community."

A group of men standing in-front of a display of stolen wrist watches.
Investigators from Project Spiderman
Arrest Made in 'Project Spiderman' Residential Robberies| @TorontoPolice News Conference
TPS crest watermark