“A police investigation into an alleged underground casino operating out of a mansion north of Toronto has fallen apart after officers were accused of stealing two luxury watches and planting evidence,” the guardian.com reports. Here’s the 411 on the stolen watches that killed the Canadian cops’ casino case (via nationalpost.com) . . .
One, a Patek Philippe bought in Paris, is worth about $300,000; the other, a gold-faced Jaeger-LeCoultre bought in Hong Kong, valued at about $150,000, according to Robitaille [the mansion owner’s lawyer].
When police raided the mansion on July 23, 2020, police video taken at the time of entry shows the watches in Wei’s bedroom: the Patek Philippe on a bedside table and the Jaeger-LeCoultre in the table’s top drawer, according to her letter of complaint.
Police seized, bagged and logged several items found in the bedroom, including Wei’s passport and phone, but the watches were not among them.
In all, 32 investigators and 92 tactical officers from the York Regional Police raided Markham Mansion, “a 53-room, 20,000-square-foot mansion with cathedral ceilings and a stuffed polar bear.” The Canadian cops casino raid – “Operation Endgame” – was based on intel that Markham’s owners were running “a full-service black market casino.”
True story! Leaving the bear, the task force seized gaming equipment, CA $70,000 in cash, another CA $10 million in assets, thousands of bottles of top shelf liquor and several firearms (including an AR-15).
Never mind. The case against Markham’s owners – one Mr. Wei and his wife – collapsed under the weight of police misconduct (including violating Mr. Wei’s attorney – client privilege). Not that the Canadian coppers didn’t try to locate the waylaid timepieces.
“Upon discovering that the watches were missing in disclosure and from exhibit logs, we requested that Mr. Wei’s watches be returned to him. YRP have advised that they conducted an extensive search of their evidence locker and do not have the watches, and they cannot account for their disappearance during the search.”
A gun holster seems to have done the opposite of a disappearing trick. It appeared 17 hours after photos show it wasn’t there before, the letter says.
Oops! Should criminals seed their lairs with a Rolex or two in the hopes that light-fingered police pocket them, torpedoing criminal charges? That assumes cops haven’t been stealing drugs, cash and yes “expensive watches” from criminals for ages and getting away with it. Which they have. And will again. So no.