Coquitlam RCMP finally released what it calls high resolution photos of the alleged accomplices in gangster Rabih Alkhalil’s escape from North Fraser Pretrial Centre.
Mounties said Alkhalil, 35, was dressed in a black jumpsuit and high visibility vest when he left in a white Ford Econoline van at 6:48 p.m. July 21 with two men posing as contractors.
The next day, RCMP released photographs of the alleged accomplices and claimed they had identified them. RCMP was forced to admit July 23 that the photographs were not of the suspects, but stock photos published around the internet that resemble the suspects.
The photographs released Aug. 9 show one suspect wearing a white hard hat, high visibility vest over a black shirt, black pants, black gloves and black boots. The second suspect wore a black baseball cap, black shirt, black pants, black boots, black gloves and glasses. Both wore facemasks.
One of the photos shows the second suspect inside a building, near a door, and wearing what appears to be a decal on his chest. The photos do not show Alkhalil and the location is not mentioned.
RCMP also provided an eight-second clip from a surveillance cameras of the white van going left to right on the screen, outside of a tire store.
RCMP say they have reviewed all CCTV footage that has been obtained and established the route the getaway vehicle took from North Fraser Pretrial Centre to where it was abandoned. The route is not included in the news release.
The investigation also includes B.C.’s anti-gang squad, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit of BC, Vancouver Police, Canada Border Services Agency and international law enforcement agencies.
Two experts familiar with North Fraser Pretrial Centre earlier said they were surprised by the dearth of images released.
“I have never in my 32 years in policing, and my time since policing, seen such an inept investigation on a suspected murderer that has escaped from one of our secure institutions,” said former Kash Heed, the Solicitor General and Public Safety Minister in 2009 and 2010.
“It’s not clear whether these two accomplices even entered the institution,” said Alan Mullen, the former chief of staff to Speaker Darryl Plecas and a former corrections manager at Kent Institution. “It's not clear whether they were on the compound or just outside the fence, whether they were in the building, we don't know, how deep they actually got in.”
Alkhalil was one of four men convicted and sentenced to life in prison for a 2012 murder in Toronto’s Little Italy during a Euro soccer watch party at a cafe. He was arrested in Greece in 2013.
Alkhalil’s first degree murder trial continues without him in B.C. Supreme Court. He is charged with the Jan. 17, 2012 killing of gangster Sandip Duhre at the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel in Vancouver. Hells Angel Larry Ronald Amero is also standing trial for conspiring to murder Duhre.