Delta police confiscated 5,360 N95 and surgical masks from two individuals trying to re-sell them at “highly inflated” prices on April 1 and April 2, 2020. (Delta Police Department photo)

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Delta police stopped two people this week allegedly trying to re-sell thousands of face and surgical masks — at “highly inflated” prices — in defiance of a provincial order banning such sales.

A constable with the Delta Police Department’s crime reduction unit, which typically focuses on stolen property, was proactively looking through online ads when she came upon an individual looking to re-sell N95 masks, the police force said in a news release on Friday (April 3).

The officer reached out and arranged to buy a quantity of masks at a price of $15 per unit, plus a $300 “delivery fee.”

Secondary sales of medical supplies and personal protective equipment, as well as cleaning supplies and food, were banned by the province on March 26 as part of a series of orders under the Emergency Program Act aimed at co-ordinating pandemic responses province-wide and putting an end to the “shameful black market for medical supplies,” as Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth put it, that has materialized as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

READ MORE: B.C. bans ‘shameful black market’ of food, medical supplies; limits buying quantities

Prior to meeting with the seller on Thursday, police contacted the City of Delta’s bylaw enforcement section to determine what offences would apply in these circumstances.

The seller, a Burnaby resident, showed up to the pre-arranged location driving a luxury vehicle. A police officer approached the man and informed him he would be receiving a $500 bylaw ticket for operating without a business licence. Police took possession of 60 masks, for which the seller was asking $1,200.

“Our crime reduction unit follows crime trends, and it’s troubling to see people trying to flout the ministerial order during this pandemic,” Cris Leykauf, public affairs manager for the Delta Police Department, said in a press release.

A day later, on Friday, April 3, Delta police handed a second person a $500 bylaw ticket after arranging to purchase 3,000 surgical masks from them for $2,200.

Both sellers voluntarily relinquished the masks to police, with the second seller relinquishing an additional 2,300 units. In total, police took possession of 5,360 masks between the two.

The department will be working with the Fraser Health Authority to determine how the masks can best be put to use.

— with files from Katya Slepian



editor@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusPolice

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

Just Posted

Photos: Businesses start to reopen in Revelstoke

Multiple businesses have reopened their doors

COLUMN: Books come back with curbside pickup

Okanagan Regional Library begins first phase of reopening process

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Golden police seek Good Samaritan after house fire

An unidentified individual may have saved lives in the early-morning fire.

Summerland adopts sign policy for Bottleneck Drive members

Policy governs directional signs for wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries

Enderby’s drive-in not safe from top doc’s 50-car limit

Starlight Drive-In opened with reduced capacity, COVID-19 safety measures in place

Parking lot patios a go in Vernon

Council votes in favour of allowing businesses to expand commercial space into on-street parking spots

Shuswap cabin owner disputes request to stay home in Alberta

Alberta resident redrafts response to CSRD request to stay home

Petition seeks to clean up Okanagan forests ‘carpeted’ with shotgun shells

Penticton man says making shot-gun shells refundable would create cleaner forests

Kelowna’s main drag will be closed to vehicles this summer

Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue will be a pedestrian-only roadway from June 29 through the Labour Day long weekend

Vernon gym knocked out by COVID-19

9Round Fitness in Vernon Square Mall owners announce permanent closure of facility

Snapshot: Distanced dancing in Salmon Arm

Friends use picnic shelter at Blackburn Park for safe practice

Most Read