Stolen vehicles continue to pose risk to public safety
Between Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, and Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, the Calgary Police Service responded to 47 reported stolen vehicles throughout the city. In 18 of these incidents, the keys had been left inside the vehicle before it was stolen.
Stolen vehicles continue to be a problem for the Service and can often pose a significant risk to public safety. This past weekend, officers responded to two such incidents, including a vehicle that was stolen with two children inside and a stolen vehicle that was used to ram a police vehicle, injuring four officers.
In addition to the multiple resources required to respond to stolen vehicle incidents, including members from patrol, HAWCS, District Operations Teams and the Tactical and Canine Units, the CPS Prolific Offender Engagement Teams are being increasingly used to identify and engage offenders who have shown a prolific pattern.
Vehicle stolen with children inside
On Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, at approximately 5:15 p.m., a woman parked her GMC Terrain in front of a residence located in the 1000 block of McKinnon Drive N.E., and left the vehicle running with two children, aged three and 14, and a dog inside. While the woman briefly ran inside the residence, a male entered the vehicle and began to drive away. After driving for approximately one block, the offender realized the vehicle had been occupied and pulled over to allow the children and the dog to get out. The children were assisted by a passerby and were able to call 9-1-1 for help.
The suspect then sped away in the stolen Terrain and met up a few blocks later with a second stolen vehicle, a black Jeep Grand Cherokee, where three suspects switched seating and driving positions between the two vehicles.
A concerned citizen continued to follow the stolen vehicles as they fled southbound. At the intersection of 19th Street and ramp to westbound Memorial Drive the operator of the stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee stopped in the middle of the road. A passenger suddenly exited it, brandishing an axe, and slashed the concerned citizen’s vehicle’s tire. This passenger is believed to be the same person who stole the Terrain with the children in it.
The stolen Terrain was later recovered, unoccupied in the 3100 block of Rae Crescent S.E. The stolen Jeep Grand Cherokee used this incident, was also recovered from the 4200 block of 17 Avenue S.E.
Investigators have suspects in custody and no further updates can be provided at this time.
Four officers injured during stolen vehicle incident
On Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, police became aware that a suspect was storing suspected firearms at the Space Place Storage, located at 118 Bowridge Drive N.W. As officers were working on a warrant to enter the locker, they became aware that the suspect had returned to the facility in a stolen Dodge Ram truck.
As HAWCS was unavailable at the time, patrol officers were deployed to observe the actions of the suspect until backup could arrive. At approximately 5:30 p.m., marked units arrived just as the suspect walked out of the storage facility and entered the stolen truck. The man spotted the officers and attempted to flee by ramming the police vehicle with the truck, resulting in extensive damage to the police vehicle. Another marked police vehicle arrived and was able to pin the stolen vehicle in a snowbank. Unable to get the truck out, the man then fled on foot.
Officers followed on foot and apprehended the man who then attempted to grab an officer’s gun and Conducted Energy Weapon from his duty belt. Four officers assisted in getting the man safely into custody.
As a result of the vehicle ramming and subsequent altercation during arrest, three officers were sent to hospital with minor injuries. The fourth officer obtained minor injuries, but was not sent to hospital.
Items seized from the stolen vehicle include a police-style duty belt with a badge, handcuffs, a baton and knife on it, and a 12-gauge shotgun and ammunition. Officers also found 260 separate forms of stolen or fraudulent identity documents including drivers licences, passports, Social Insurance Number cards and bank cards located within the truck. Investigators have been able to identify 50 victims of crime from the documents and are currently working to identify and locate any other victims whose identities have been compromised. A subsequent search warrant executed on the storage locker revealed stolen property and a crossbow. Photos of some of the seized items can be found above.
The truck was found with keys in the ignition at the time of its recovery.
Dylon Russell WATSON, 24, faces 18 charges related to this incident, including:
- Five firearms-related charges
- Two charges in relation to the Traffic Safety Act offences – operating a motor vehicle without holding an operator’s licence, driving an uninsured motor vehicle
- One count of possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking
- Two counts of failing to comply, including breach of parole for assault of a peace officer
- Two counts of assaulting a peace officer with a weapon
- One count of resisting arrest
- Two criminal code driving charges – dangerous operation of a motor vehicle and hit and run
- Two counts of possession of stolen property
Man charged hours after being released pending trial for previous similar charges
On Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017, at approximately 1 p.m., a man entered a business in the 10000 block of 114 Avenue S.E., and attempted to collect payment for a vehicle motor he was trying to sell the company. It is alleged the deal was made two weeks ago, however the business later determined that the vehicle was stolen by checking the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and notified police.
When the man arrived to collect the payment, the employees of the business immediately called police.
As police arrived, the suspect was observed fleeing the scene in another stolen Ford F150 at a high rate of speed and running red lights. HAWCS was utilized until the two occupants of the vehicle could be safely taken into custody by police officers on the ground, including members from the Canine Unit.
Officers located four other sets of vehicle keys when searching the man. The man had previously been charged with several similar offences and had been released from custody pending trial on those charges just 12 hours prior to this incident occurring.
Sebastian Thomas TAIT, 22, of Calgary, has been charged with one count each of possession of stolen property over $5,000, dangerous driving, driving while criminally suspended, driving without insurance and three counts of breach of a recognizance.
Samantha Lynne POOLE, 23, of Calgary, has been charged with one count of possession of stolen property over $5,000 and two counts of breach of a recognizance.