(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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

People watch burning funeral pyres of their relatives who died of COVID-19 in a ground that has been converted into a crematorium in New Delhi, India, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Infections in India hit another grim daily record that day as demand for medical oxygen jumped seven-fold and the government denied reports that it was slow in distributing life-saving supplies from abroad. (AP Photo/Ishant Chauhan)
Liam’s Lowdown: Tell us more how COVID-19 is impacting B.C.

Compared to other provinces, B.C. releases less data on COVID-19 infections and vaccinations

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

The five graduating members of the Vernon-based Thompson Okanagan Lakers U18AAA girls hockey team – Jessica Engelbrecht (from left), Makenna Howe, Cheree Peters, Jayden Perpelitz, and Alexis Bishop – have all committed to collegiate hockey programs in Canada and the U.S. (Photo submitted)
Vernon-based hockey squad sends 5 to college ranks

Thompson Okanagan U18AAA Lakers players heading to Canadian and U.S. programs

Richard Green writes poetry under the nom de plume Rick the Poet Warrior. Homeless, Green sometimes spends his summers in Revelstoke but winters in Victoria, travelling to Ontario to visit his sister whenever he can. (Jocelyn Doll - Revelstoke Review)
Revelstoke nomad pens poetry, offers insight into homelessness

Rick the Poet Warrior’s books can be found online as well as at the Revelstoke library

(Pixabay photo)
NHL bracket challenge supporting Indigenous awards at Okanagan College

One or more Indigenous students experiencing financial barriers will be able to receive an award

Sisters Audrey Cunningham and Donna Erdman, join the Vernon Kalamalka Chorus singing in their cars, tuned into the radio, under the direction of Debbie Parmenter. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
VIDEO: Okanagan choir steers around COVID with ‘carbershop’ twist

Singers find a unique way to practice during pandemic restrictions

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A Falkland man will present a 600+ signature petition to the Columbia Shuswap Regional District board Thursday, May 20, opposing dog control in Electoral Area D, which includes Falkland, Silver Creek, Salmon Valley and Ranchero/Deep Creek. (File photo)
600-plus sign Falkland man’s petition against dog control

Similar bylaw rejected by 200 public hearing attendees when topic came up 9 years ago

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Notes of hope, encouragement and camaraderie were left on the message board inside the kitchen of TacoTime. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Adiós, Taco Tuesday: Kelowna residents flock to TacoTime on restaurant’s final day

‘We don’t need another Starbucks. We need tacos on Tuesday, with extra hot sauce’

Most Read