New Westminster: Suspects in three separate offences on the transit system, involving weapons, have been arrested, charged and remanded in custody for future court appearances.
1. On October 10, 2016, at approximately 9:30 am, an empty Coast Mountain bus stopped in the 000 block Keefer Place, Vancouver, for a brief layover enroute to Granville Island. A man standing at the bus stop boarded the bus without paying and sat down near the operator. He pulled out a screwdriver and began fiddling with it in his hands. The operator became nervous, as he was alone, and asked the man to move towards the back of the bus. The man reluctantly moved back while allegedly making threatening comments.
Several moments later, the man walked to the front of the bus and allegedly struck the operator in the face with the screwdriver before running off the bus and out of the area.
The operator, who suffered a cut near his left eye, bruising and swelling around the eye, broken eyeglasses and a fractured cheek, called the assault into his dispatch. Transit Police were advised and initiated an investigation.
Video of the suspect was obtained and circulated to local police agencies. A VPD beat officer recognized the suspect and at 9:30 am, October 20, 2016, spotted him in the 300 block of Columbia Street, Vancouver, and took him into custody.
Arrested and charged with one count of Assault with a Weapon is Darren Hawk LAFFERTY, 23 years, of no fixed address. He has been remanded in custody and is scheduled to make his next court appearance November 28, 2016, in Vancouver Provincial Court.
LAFFERTY is very well known to police and is listed as a chronic offender by VPD. He is currently subject to three separate probation orders for convictions of offences including Mischief, Theft, multiple Break and Enters and Failing to Comply with a Probation Order.
2. On August 14, 2015, at approximately 8:20 pm, a Coast Mountain bus stopped to pick up passengers at 64th Avenue and Scott Road. A man boarded the bus without fare and allegedly sprayed the bus operator in the face, with bear spray, when spoken to. He then ran off the bus and allegedly threatened to spray a citizen who gave chase before leaving the area.
The bus operator suffered from the spraying for over an hour and was treated for symptoms. The gas permeated the bus and all passengers had to disembark and wait for a replacement bus.
Transit Police were called and an investigation was initiated which spanned 14 months, during which time a suspect was identified but not located. On October 11, 2016, at approximately 3:30 pm, a Transit Police officer was travelling on the SkyTrain, eastbound from New Westminster Station to Columbia Station, when she recognized the suspect from the bear spraying incident. He was taken into custody at Columbia Station.
Arrested and charged is Allen Clifford NEWMAN, 24 years, and a resident of Abbotsford. NEWMAN was allegedly found to have in his possession a quantity of drugs, an extendable baton, a butterfly knife and a set of brass knuckles. He is very well known to police and has a lengthy history of violent offences.
NEWMAN has been charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance, Carrying a Weapon or Prohibited Device, Possession of a Prohibited Weapon and Carrying a Concealed Weapon. He has been remanded in custody and is scheduled to make his next court appearance November 2, 2016, in New Westminster Provincial Court.
3. On October 15, 2016, at approximately 12:40 pm, a woman was travelling on the SkyTrain, heading eastbound from Broadway and Commercial Station, when she noticed a man seated near her behaving oddly. He was twitchy and erratic in his movements and she felt he might be under the influence of drugs. The man stood up in front of the woman who also stood as the train approached her stop at Metrotown Station. As she waited for the doors to open, he allegedly pulled out a utility style knife and extended it toward the woman’s abdomen. He put the knife away and then repeated the process just prior to her getting off the train.
Several witnesses got off the train with the woman, advised a SkyTrain Attendant who called Transit Police and spoke to the woman to reassure her.
Transit Police officers, on duty at the 22nd Street Station, received a radio broadcast concerning the suspect and his direction of travel and boarded the train on its arrival, taking the suspect into custody without incident. A utility style folding knife was located in his pocket as well as a number of tools in his backpack.
Arrested and charged with Assault with a Weapon is Wayne Douglas LYSTER, 44 years, of no fixed address. LYSTER is very well known to police. This is his fourth alleged crime of violence or threats of violence in the last four months and the second alleged weapons-related incident in just over two weeks. He has been remanded in custody and is scheduled to make his next court appearance November 29, 2016, in Vancouver Provincial Court.
Metro Vancouver Transit Police Chief Doug LePard states, “We are gratified that the courts recognize the serious nature of these offences on our transit system. Our top priority is to provide a safe and secure environment for both our passengers and our employees. Keeping these weapons and the persons who use these weapons to attack or threaten our passengers or employees off the system, is paramount.”