Police used a receipt and an Instagram selfie to link a Kamloops man to a loaded revolver found last month in an unlocked vehicle, alongside more than $1,700 in cash and two bags of drugs, a judge has been told.
Steven Gardner is facing three firearms charges, along with one count of driving while prohibited and another alleging he drove while disqualified.
Court heard police showed up at a Carson Crescent rental residence in North Kamloops on Sept. 13, looking for a potential witness to a murder that took place the previous day. On Sept. 12, 33-year-old Daniel Thomas Myles was stabbed near the Acadian Inn in downtown Kamloops and later died in Royal Inland Hospital. James Dylan Sanford, 32, is charged with second-degree murder.
While approaching the Carson Crescent house, on Sept. 13, the two constables noticed a large quantity of cash and a visible handgun inside a parked car. The Mounties seized the gun — a loaded Smith and Wesson revolver — and impounded the car.
A subsequent search of the Nissan Altima turned up $1,730 in cash, multiple boxes of ammunition, 52 grams of suspected fentanyl, 20 grams of suspected crystal meth and 70 grams of an unknown white powder, court heard.
Police are also alleged to have found a receipt in Gardner’s name from the Great Canadian Oil Change location on Lansdowne Street downtown. According to the Crown, the receipt was dated the previous day and listed Gardner’s address as the Carson Crescent rental.
Mounties then went to the oil change garage and reviewed video surveillance, which showed a Nissan Altima driven by someone with a distinct tattoo on his arm, the Crown has alleged. Investigators compared the video footage to a selfie on Gardner’s Instagram page, matching it to a tattoo reading “Untouchable” on his left arm.
Fingerprints on the barrel of the revolver were preliminarily found to match those of Gardner, according to the Crown.
The investigation progressed without Gardner’s arrest until an Oct. 16 shooting at the Hospitality Inn on West Columbia Street in Lower Sahali, after which the Altima — no longer impounded — was reported as potentially having been involved.
Police later found the vehicle near a Chase home at which Gardner was arrested, court heard. He is not charged in connection with the shooting.
Gardner is seeking bail in Kamloops provincial court, offering a $10,000 cash deposit. Dale Melville, his defence lawyer, said the Crown’s case is far from a slam dunk, noting the fingerprints lifted from the revolver have not been fully analyzed.
“Without the fingerprint evidence, it would be difficult — if not impossible — for the Crown to get a conviction,” he said.
Kamloops provincial court Judge Raymond Phillips is expected to deliver a decision on bail on Thursday, Oct. 29.