Spike belts, airplane surveillance and police dogs were all part of two police chases and arrests in the North Okanagan-Shuswap over the past two days.
In two separate incidents on Sept. 26 and 27, police throughout the region banded together to chase and arrest two suspects wanted on warrants for theft and other crimes.
On Wednesday, CP Rail police spotted a 28-year-old man from Mara in Salmon Arm. He was wanted on two B.C.-wide warrants for flight from police, dangerous operation of a vehicle, driving without insurance or a licence, uttering threats, obstructing a police officer and theft under $5,000.
CP police called in Salmon Arm officers, and several attempts were made to stop the driver, states an RCMP news release.
“On one occasion, the suspect allegedly drove head on toward a police car, causing the driver to take evasive action to avoid being struck. No pursuit was engaged; however RCMP Air Services and the Police Dog Service were called to assist.”
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The driver was next spotted by officers from the North Okanagan RCMP in Mara, Enderby and Grindrod, while a police plane watched from above. The vehicle finally slowed down when it hit two spike belts near Riverside Road in Mara.
Police report the driver managed to keep driving for about three kilometres on the rims of the vehicle until he was arrested at a gas station.
Sgt. Murray McNeil of Sicamous RCMP was pleased with the arrest.
“This really shows how seamlessly and cooperatively all police agencies, units and detachments can work together. This man led officers through jurisdictions throughout the North Okanagan, including Sicamous, Salmon Arm, onto the highways and he was successfully arrested with only damage to his vehicle.”
Strangely, a similar chase unfolded the next day, this one coming to an end in the middle of a lake.
Staff Sgt. Scott West of Salmon Arm RCMP reports that a man was spotted by a plainclothes officer near Klahani Park and 10th Avenue SE in Salmon Arm. He was looking at bicycles there and was driving a vehicle that was suspected to have been stolen in West Kelowna on Sept. 5.
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The suspect left before police could talk to him, so a multitude of police resources – including Salmon Arm, North Okanagan and Sicamous RCMP, as well as Regional Traffic Services, Police Dog Services and an RCMP aircraft – were deployed to the South Canoe and Ranchero area.
The vehicle was again sighted by an officer, West says, but it fled in Ranchero. Police set up a perimeter while other officers arrived. The suspect was later seen by police on Highway 97B.
“The male then ran on foot on Highway 97B and then into the woods,” writes West in a news release. “The male then ran into Gardiner Lake (near the Shuswap National golf course) where he was observed swimming to escape. RCMP officers and a police dog surrounded the lake and the male surrendered in the lake and was brought into shore where he was checked by Ambulance Services.”
The suspect, 33, also had outstanding BC warrants and was held in custody in Salmon Arm awaiting a bail hearing. He was facing a charge of possession of stolen property, as well as break, enter and theft which stemmed from an investigation in Sicamous where a local pharmacy was broken into earlier in September.