(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

Talia McKay of Williams Lake is a burn survivor who remains grateful for the support she received from the Burn Fund (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
’You have to allow yourself the grace to heal’: B.C. burn survivor reflects on her recovery

Learning how to stand straight and walk again was a feat said Williams Lake resident Talia McKay

As a former reporter and editor at the Tribune, Diana French carries on sharing her ideas through her weekly column. (Photo submitted)
FRENCH CONNECTION: Worth taking another look at hemp for paper production

Ninety years after being deemed illegal, few are afraid of marijauna

Ranch Musings columnist David Zirnhelt. (File photo)
RANCH MUSINGS: Milking cows and strangers on the premises

Cows in a milking barn may get upset if a stranger comes

Lake City Secondary School Grade 12 students Haroop Sandhu, from left, Amrit Binning and Cleary Manning are members of the school’s horticulture club. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
LCSS horticulture club a growing success

Aspiring gardeners at a Williams Lake secondary school are earning scholarship dollars… Continue reading

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Tribune.
FOREST INK: Plenty of changes happening in forest industry

A new process produces a biodegradable plastic-like product from wood waste powder

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

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

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

Most Read