Traffic stops yeild break-and-enter arrest in Kelowna

Early morning traffic stop for a burnt out headlight brings in suspects from break-and-enter moments before

  • Thu May 9th, 2013 10:00am
  • News

Two people have been arrested after a Kelowna RCMP officer unwittingly discovered a pair of thieves making their escape.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, a West Kelowna RCMP officer was on patrol when he pulled over a Chevy Silverado for a burnt out headlight. The vehicle stopped in the 1900-block of Highway 97 South and the officer soon discovered it had been reported stolen from the Dilworth Centre parking lot five days earlier.

“Police never really know what they’re going to be dealing with when they stop a vehicle,” said Kelowna RCMP Const. Kris Clark. “This is just one more example of how taking the initiative on a simple traffic violation can have greater results and may even solve other crimes.”

As it would turn out, a 38-year-old Calgary man named James Beecher, who was riding passenger when the truck was pulled over, and his alleged accomplice, 44-year-old Michelle Laurence, may have been up to more than ripping off cars.

As morning arrived and Okanagan residents headed to work, the West Kelowna RCMP received a report of a break-and-enter at the Great Canadian Oil Change located at 1920 Old Okanagan Highway. The front glass door had been smashed and the safe damaged.

Video surveillance showed a man who is alleged to be Beecher exiting the passenger’s side of a blue Chevy Silverado and using a sledge hammer to break into the store at 2 a.m., just minutes before police pulled the truck over arrested him and Laurence.

It appears that the pair were stopped by police while driving away from the Great Canadian Oil Change.

Beecher and Laurence are expected to appear in Court on May 9, 2013.