Victoria police officers are investigating and asking for video footage after an unusual and dangerous vehicle theft on Thursday morning, where an owner of a truck was trapped in the back of the vehicle as the alleged thief drove away.
VicPD officers were called to the 900-block of Green Street just before 8 a.m. on June 25 for a report of a stolen truck.
The victim said that he was on his way to work in his vehicle when he realized he had forgotten something inside his home, so he went back inside to grab it while leaving his truck running.
“Inside his house he hears his truck back out of his driveway and he comes outside and see a man drive away in his vehicle,” said VicPD spokesperson Bowen Osoko.
The victim then spotted two VicPD volunteer Reserve Constables who were on foot patrol in the area and immediately asked them for help. The Reserves called in the stolen truck, along with a description of the suspect and patrol officers arrived and took the victim’s report.
While officers searched for the vehicle and suspect, the victim and his partner decided to also search the nearby area for his truck, and actually spotted the truck stopped in the 800-block of Mason Street a short time later.
The owner came up to the truck and spoke with a man just outside of the vehicle, who was sorting through the owner’s work tools that were pulled from the truck, according to VicPD.
After seeing another man in possession of some of his property, the victim stepped away from the first man and approached the second man.
While the victim was talking to him, the first man hopped in the truck and began to drive away with the stolen truck.
“Whether instinctual or maybe out of reaction the victim starts chasing after his vehicle as it’s being driven away, and grabs on and becomes entangled and actually gets dragged for a number of blocks,” said Osoko.
Police say the suspect began to drive the truck erratically, possibly in an effort to throw the victim from the truck bed. The victim called out to passersby for help, his partner still following behind.
Several people called 911 as the vehicle was driven through downtown Victoria. Police say at one point, witnesses reported seeing the truck drive down a sidewalk, and others saw is driving on the wrong side of the road against traffic on Bay Street.
The suspect finally stopped and got out of the vehicle, but left it running and in drive, and fled on foot at the intersection at Bay Street at Blanchard Street, police said.
The victim was able to climb from the bed into the cab of the vehicle and bring it to a stop.
But he didn’t stop there as he then chased down the suspect.
The alleged thief was stopped by a passerby who, with the victim’s help, was able to hold onto him long enough and keep him detained until officers arrived and took the suspect into custody.
Luckily, no one was injured, and the file remains under investigation.
Many residents on Green Street say crime in the area has gotten out of hand.
“That poor man. He was just trying to hold onto his own property,” said Monica Babic, who has lived on the street for eight years.
“My neighbours have been robbed, the people next door moved because they were robbed and they had a young child.”
Things got so bad the neighbourhood recently started a Whatsapp group to keep an eye on each other.
“100 per can’t say I wouldn’t do the same thing,” said resident Jake Pelletier.
“We had a lot of crime, a lot of people coming through our yard stealing things… [now] we could all communicate is something was going on, if someone was in trouble we could come together.”
VicPD is asking anyone with video footage of the incident, whether it is footage from home security, a dashcam or a cellphone, to send it into police. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the non-emergency line at (250) 995-7654 and select option 1 for the report desk.