A manhunt for an American fugitive believed to be hiding in the Montreal area has ended in Beaconsfield thanks to three sharp-eyed West Islanders who called police after spotting a man get out of a red van and put on a wig.
On Tuesday, RCMP Constable Éric Gasse confirmed 29-year-old Daniel Marcotte was arrested without incident Sept. 10 in a room at the Beaconsfield Chalets Motel on Beaconsfield Blvd.
Marcotte, a 29-year-old Montreal native who was living in California, is believed to have bilked at least six seniors out of more than $100,000 by calling them up on the telephone and pretending to be a grandson in danger in a foreign country and in need of money — the so-called “Grandma, I’m in Jail scam.”
Last month, The Gazette published an article on Marcotte when police in Seal Beach, Calif., believing Marcotte was hiding in the Montreal area, asked Montrealers for their help in locating him.
Marcotte had vowed to “avoid capture at all costs” but, it appears his plan was foiled by three West Island men, who lead police to the 5-foot-7, 200-pound Marcotte, a man who is said to live a lavish lifestyle and who sports tattoos on his collar bones that read MTL and 514.
The men, who have asked not to be identified fearing reprisals from Marcotte’s friends, say they called police on two consecutive days — Sept. 8 and 9 — to report seeing a suspicious man late one night in Beaurepaire Village before the RCMP finally came to interview them Sept. 10 and arrested Marcotte.
“We didn’t know who he was but men don’t get out of cars and put on dark wigs,” said one of the three men. “It was suspicious.”
The RCMP’s Gasse said he couldn’t comment on the particulars of Marcotte’s arrest or what charges have now been laid.
Similarly, Det. Mariana Martinez with the Seal Beach Police said the case was “very dynamic” and, at this time, she was able to corroborate details of Marcotte’s arrest or to thank the Montrealers who may have lead police to their man.
It is unknown whether a reward is available.
Others, however, were willing to dole out praise on the men who helped track Marcotte down.
George Gore is the long-time manager of the Beaconsfield motel where Marcotte checked in Sept. 5 and paid $400 cash for a room until the end of the month.
“Those men deserve credit,” said Gore. “I didn’t suspect a thing. When the RCMP arrived and showed me an 8X10 colour photo of the man, I said ‘This guy doesn’t live here.’ ”
Gore said he only made the connection between his motel guest and the photo of the wanted-man after the RCMP brought a baldheaded Marcotte out of the motel room and put him in their van.