Spike belt. Flare gun. Golf club. Vandalism. Theft. Arrest.
All were featured in one eventful weekend case for Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP.
A 27-year-old man from Salmon Arm is in custody and facing numerous charges including theft over $5,000, mischief, break-and-enter, possession of stolen property, flight from police, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and assaulting a police officer for events that happened Friday night and carried over to Saturday morning.
Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP officers were advised at 8:45 p.m. on Friday, May 1, to be on the lookout for a white SUV stolen from a neighbouring jurisdiction. A vehicle similar in description was said to be involved a short time later in thefts from vehicles in the Enderby area.
While police were conducting an investigation, they received a report at 1 a.m. Saturday, May 2, of a near head-on collision in Coldstream with a vehicle fitting the description allegedly involved.
Police conducted numerous patrols but were unable to locate the vehicle which had taken off at a high rate of speed. At 2:30 a.m., officers responded to an attempted break-and-enter at a business in the 3100 block of 29th Avenue in Vernon where a white SUV had been seen leaving the scene.
Twenty minutes later, an officer patrolling for the vehicle located it on Highway 97 north of Vernon. The vehicle refused to stop for police and continued northbound on Highway 97A.
“Our frontline officers working in the north rural area were alerted the vehicle was heading their way and encountered the SUV near Armstrong,” said Cpl. Tania Finn, media relations officer for the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. “As our officer set up a spike belt, a flare gun was discharged at the officer and the suspect managed to flee. Fortunately, the flare did not strike our officer.”
As the vehicle continued north, the driver was unable to navigate a corner and officers located it in a field nearby. When police approached, the vehicle fled and a second spike belt was successfully deployed.
Kelly Nanda is the 25-year owner of Ebenezer’s Rare and Used Items on 29th Avenue in Vernon. Posted to the store’s Facebook page Saturday was a video of a shoeless suspect smashing the store’s front window with a golf club.
“He didn’t gain entrance at all,” Nanda said. “He took just three swings, smashed the front door window then left.
“The amount of damage is about $1,000 or so, I won’t really find out until Monday when my glass guy can come. But security glass isn’t cheap and our hours were etched on the glass so that wasn’t cheap either.”
None of the surrounding stores were touched.
Another Vernon business posted a similar video from between 2 and 3 a.m. on its Facebook page.
Swan Lake Motors’ video shows a man walking through its offices.
The suspect gained access in a corner office, having smashed the glass with a golf club, Swan Lake Motors said in an email.
The suspect looked in all the offices until the alarm went off. He was then seen rushing out into a vehicle; it drove down the road a bit, turned around and did a loop in the lot before taking off.
Nothing other than the property was damaged, said Swan Lake Motors, and nothing appeared to be missing.
There are no reports of any injuries to the public, the officers or the suspect as a result of this incident.