Arrests linked to alleged carjacking and lottery thefts

Suspects arrested in Vernon Saturday are expected to appear in Kamloops court

  • May. 30, 2016 3:00 p.m.

CHRIS FOULDS

Kamloops This Week

A man and woman wanted in connection with allegedly stealing a vehicle in Kamloops have been arrested in Vernon, and the case is linked to a series of lottery ticket heists.

Cpl. Jodi Shelkie, with the Kamloops RCMP, said a 42-year-old man and 33-year-old woman were taken into custody in Vernon after being arrested there Saturday in a stolen 2008 Ford Focus.

Shelkie said the storyline began last week when Kamloops Mounties were investigating a series of incidents in which lottery tickets were being stolen from various stores in the city.

One of those incidents took place May 25 at the Petro-Can gas station on Rogers Way in Aberdeen, when a customer distracted the clerk by spilling a frozen slush drink away from the till. When the clerk when to clean it up, the lottery tickets were pilfered.

On May 27, a Kamloops Mountie found the suspect vehicle, a white Suzuki with Saskatchewan licence plates, connected to the lottery thefts. It was unoccupied and parked on the North Shore. However, as the officer waited for a tow truck to remove the vehicle, the two suspects managed to get in the vehicle and drive away.

Shelkie said the officer called in the theft and told fellow officers the direction the Suzuki was heading. Shortly thereafter, the Suzuki was spotted on the South Shore by another Mountie, but Shelkie said a chase was not initiated due to traffic in the area.

It was shortly after this that the Suzuki blew through a stop sign at Columbia Street and Eighth Avenue, T-boning a westbound Hyundai SUV and injuring the two people inside.

The crash scene was serious enough to prompt drivers of passing vehicles to stop and offer help, including David Retzer, who left his Ford Focus running while he rushed to the wrecked vehicles and called 911 on his cellphone.

While he checked on the couple in the Hyundai, the suspects in the Suzuki stole his Focus and sped away south of Eighth Avenue, eluding police vehicles and a police helicopter.

A day later, on Saturday, Vernon RCMP received a report of theft of lottery tickets from a store and were aware of the Kamloops file. Vernon officers found the suspects in the stolen Ford Focus arrested them.

The pair are expected to appear in Kamloops Law Courts (today (Monday).