Serial robber took 11-year-old along

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A 28-year-old Langley man has been found guilty of robbing seven food stores, mostly in Langley. On one occasion, he took his girlfriend’s 11-year-old daughter with him.

Michael Heatley was found guilty on seven counts of robbery by Supreme Court Judge Josephson after a trial in New Westminster last month.

Heatley said the robberies were committed to buy drugs for him and his girlfriend. His girlfriend was originally arrested as an accomplice, because she was with him on most of the robberies as the driver, said the court judgment.

The first robbery was on Mother’s Day 2011 at a Langley Subway. He was found guilty of robbing the Subway with his girlfriend and her 11-year-old daughter waiting in the vehicle for him. In the Mother’s Day robbery, Heatley told investigators that he needed money because his girlfriend’s daughter needed food.

According to the court judgment published April 7, the daughter testified at the trial, saying that she had an idea Heatley had committed a robbery because her mother told her he was getting them lunch. Instead he came back with “lots of money” and her mom drove away very quickly. Her mother also asked her to find black gloves for Heatley, which he is believed to have used in the robbery.

In each case, Heatley masked his face and sometimes produced a knife, but always wore gloves.

He was also found guilty of robbing a Subway in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2011. On Aug. 29 he robbed a Booster Juice in Port Moody and then another one in Aldergrove. Heatley told police he was in the area in Aldergrove because his girlfriend was picking up a methadone prescription.

The next day he robbed the Langley Booster Juice. Each time getting away with hundreds of dollars.

On Sept. 1, 2011 he robbed a Subway in Surrey. On that same day he robbed the Fox and Hounds liquor store in Aldergrove. He was arrested following that robbery.

Heatley’s defence tried to argue that Heatley confessed to the crimes falsely to protect his girlfriend from charges. The judge said what ever the motive, the  “resulting confessions were nonetheless reliable.”

An unusual aspect of this case is that the accused was under covert police surveillance on Sept. 1, 2011, when the last two robberies occurred. That surveillance was lost during the actual commission of the robberies, but reacquired after the last robbery, at which time the accused and his girlfriend were arrested. In a search of the vehicle they had been driving that day, items were seized which the Crown used as evidence.

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