Mission RCMP officers got their man this week – actually several car thieves – in four separate instances during a busy 14-hour period.
The first matter came up on Sept. 4 at about 1 p.m., when a patrol officer spotted a 1993 Dodge Spirit that had been reported stolen from Maple Ridge a few days prior, said Const. T. Todd.
The officer saw the vehicle at Seventh and Cedar but lost sight of it, so other patrol units were called in, including the RCMP’s Air Two helicopter.
Within the hour, Air Two crew members located the Dodge. The chopper and the ground units closed in on it on Parr Street and officers arrested two people without incident.
John Knox, a 33-year-old Maple Ridge man, wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for a parole violation, now also faces charges of driving while prohibited and possession of stolen property.
The female passenger, 22, faces charges including possession of stolen property.
The second incident came just after midnight on Sept. 5, when an alert citizen noted a suspicious man inside a vehicle near a Cedar Valley Connector residential complex and called the RCMP.
Several officers and a police dog team went to the area, where the police dog was able to track down the suspect.
A 21-year-old Mission man was arrested and charged with theft and possession of stolen property.
“A lot of credit goes to the witness. It was a good old case of someone watching out for his community,” said Todd. He emphasized that people should not leave any valuables – laptops, GPS, purses – in their vehicles.
Later that morning at about 3 a.m., a Mountie on patrol on 12th Avenue spotted a 2009 Nissan Versa that had been reported stolen the afternoon before from the Mission Leisure Centre.
The officer pulled in behind the Nissan as it was parked, but the driver took off, leaving behind a 22-year-old female passenger and “lots of stolen mail” in the car, said Todd.
The keys to the vehicle has apparently been stolen from a locker at the leisure centre. The mail had apparently been stolen in the 12 hours after the car theft, said Todd.
The female suspect, who is known to police, is charged with possession of stolen property and may face other charges that can be involved with mail theft, said Todd.
She was released from court on a promise to appear. The male suspect remained at large as of Thursday.
Todd said the crime was somewhat unusual.
“That said, people should be aware of their surroundings and how secure their belongings are,” he said. If patrons see any suspicious people at the leisure centre, Todd said they should tell the front desk staff, who will alert the RCMP.
Finally, at 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 5, the police dog unit on patrol saw a 1998 Nissan Sentra that seemed out of place in the empty lot outside of the Chances Casino on Horne Street. While the officer followed the vehicle to 7th Avenue and Cedar, he confirmed it was stolen and pulled the car over. A man, 37, and a woman, 30, both Mission residents and known to police, were arrested. They face charges of stolen property and have been released on promises to appear.
“We don’t have many stolen vehicles here so to have three incidents and arrests in 24 hours was unusual. The officers really earned their stripes that night,” said Todd.
In all instances, the stolen vehicles are checked by the Insurance Corporation of B.C. staff and returned to the owners, Todd said.