Days after an art thief described by Vancouver police as a chronic offender got out of jail after a one-day sentence, he was re-arrested, charged and released from custody again on a new allegation of theft.
Security video captured Francis Joseph Boivin, 51, leisurely entering the Vancouver Fine Art Gallery on Dec. 30, and walking out with a sculpture valued at $30,000.
The next day, Boivin returned to the same South Granville gallery and walked away with another art piece worth $7,000 – pulling the second heist off in just four seconds.
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Police immediately recognized the suspect after reviewing the surveillance footage.
Officers drove to his East Vancouver address and, according to Sgt. Steve Addison with the VPD, arrested the man as he arrived home, carrying the stolen sculpture.
Investigators executed a search warrant to recover the first piece of art stolen the day prior.
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Boivin spent two months in custody before pleading guilty to two counts of theft over $5,000.
On March 6, he was released from custody after being sentenced to one day in jail followed by 18 months probation.
“I think it’s quite pathetic,” Vancouver Fine Art Gallery director Dror Darel told Global News on Sunday.
“Especially when the guy’s been convicted 123 times.”
Boivin has more than 115 convictions and court records indicate he’s been in and out of jail in B.C. for the past 25 years.
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While on probation on March 15, Boivin was arrested on Vancouver’s west side and charged with theft.
Security staff at a liquor store near Arbutus Street and King Edward Avenue called police for a “known shoplifter who had concealed an item under his jacket and exited the store without paying,” Vancouver police Const. Tania Visintin said in an email.
Boivin was taken to jail and released from custody the next day.
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“They’re just too lenient, they’re letting him walk away knowing that he can do this tomorrow again,” Darel said.
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Boivin must abide by several conditions of his probation including residing at a single-room-occupancy hotel (SRO), maintaining a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, and not attending the Vancouver Fine Art Gallery.
Global News attempted to reach Boivin at his SRO on Sunday but staff said he was not available.
Boivin’s March 16 release came with one condition: not to be in any BC Liquor store.
Darel, who briefly chased Boivin on the street before his arrest on Dec. 31, said tracking justice is an exercise in frustration.
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“I think something is seriously wrong with our system,” Darel told Global News.
“They’re really protecting the thief, the criminal, and not the average citizen.”
In 2022, the owner of Source Antiques on Main Street discovered a sledgehammer in her shop after Boivin was arrested in her store overnight on March 6.
A break and enter charge against Boivin was stayed by Crown counsel while he pleaded guilty to possessing stolen property and was sentenced to one day in jail and 12 months probation.
Darel, meantime, said he now buzzes everyone in to the gallery and has installed new security measures on the art to ensure sculptures are locked down and not vulnerable to grab and go thefts.
Boivin is scheduled to appear in Vancouver provincial court on April 6 on the new theft charge.
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