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Home invasion victim testifies he feared being shot by intruder posing as police officer

Armin Babic, 41, is accused of breaking into this home in the De Winton area south of Calgary in 2019 while wearing a police vest and then robbing a man at gunpoint.  (Court exhibit  - image credit)
Armin Babic, 41, is accused of breaking into this home in the De Winton area south of Calgary in 2019 while wearing a police vest and then robbing a man at gunpoint. (Court exhibit - image credit)

A man who was victimized in a home invasion after the perpetrator gained entry posing as a police officer testified Thursday he feared being shot during the robbery.

Gavin McLachlan, 68, lived on an acreage in De Winton, south of Calgary, when he was attacked and robbed in November 2019. At the time, McLachlan's sister was visiting and his wife was out volunteering at her grandson's school.

Armin Babic, 41, is on trial on seven charges, including robbery with a firearm, impersonating a peace officer and forcible confinement.

Babic is representing himself during the two-week trial, which began Wednesday.

Court of King's Bench Justice Chris Rickards heard testimony from McLachlan on Thursday.

On Nov. 19, 2019, McLachlan spotted a pickup truck in his driveway and told the court that a man wearing a "police" vest got out and approached his home.

Armin Babic is accused of stealing these items from a safe in a De Winton-area home in 2019.
Armin Babic is accused of stealing these items from a safe in a De Winton-area home in 2019.

Armin Babic is accused of stealing these items from a safe in a De Winton home in 2019. (Court exhibit )

The victim opened the door and was told by the man to turn around.

When the stranger "started to mess around with a rope," McLachlan said he realized the man was not a police officer.

'Where's the safe?'

McLachlan says he demanded to see identification but the man pulled out a gun.

Around the same time, McLachlan's sister walked into the situation and asked what was going on.

"He started aggressively asking me 'where's the safe?'" said McLachlan.

McLachlan's denials of the existence of a safe angered the intruder.

"He chambered the gun, shot my couch and put the gun to the back of my sister's head, so I decided to comply and show him where the safe was," he testified.

'Not a good situation'

Upstairs, after unlocking the safe, the armed man grabbed more than $20,000 in cash, jewelry and McLachlan's handgun.

The robber ordered the siblings into the bedroom and demanded they lie on the floor. He tied their wrists with ropes.

"He had his gun in his hand while he was trying to tie her. I knew there was a live round in the gun," said McLachlan. "I was quite concerned.

He said his sister was "whimpering a bit" because she'd recently had shoulder surgery.

McLachlan said he could feel the gun scratching his wrists.

"I knew it was not a good situation, so I didn't move," he said in his testimony. "I told him to be careful, it's going to go off."

'Eastern European accent'

Once the intruder left the home, McLachlan ran to an upstairs window and made mental note of the truck as it left before he called 911.

McLachlan told the judge the intruder had what he believed was an eastern European accent.

Babic speaks with an eastern European accent.

Less than an hour after McLachlan was robbed, RCMP spotted a Chevrolet Silverado that matched the description of the intruder's vehicle.

Babic, who was driving the truck, was arrested.

Police searched the vehicle and found all of the stolen property as well as clothing, which had both Babic's DNA on it and McLachlan's.

A spent shell casing recovered from McLachlan's home was determined to have been fired from the handgun found in Babic's truck and registered in his name.