A pair has been arrested in an Island-wide crime spree that’s spanned multiple communities from Victoria all the way up to Port Hardy.
A 43-year-old male and 22-year-old female were arrested in Chemainus on July 13 after a month-long string of criminal offences.
The crime spree began on June 14 when the 43-year-old male from Cowichan Valley failed to stop for North Duncan RCMP after an alleged traffic violation. Police said the suspect has a cross-Canada driving ban and shouldn’t have been driving. A warrant was subsequently issued for his arrest.
In the following weeks, North Cowichan RCMP attempted to pull the vehicle over again, but police say the driver fled once more.
A white Toyota Tacoma pickup truck was stolen on June 26 out of Victoria. RCMP suspected the same man stole it and was driving it around the Cowichan Valley.
Then a silver Dodge pickup was stolen from a vehicle dealership in Duncan on July 2 and three days later a boat was stolen out of a driveway in Nanaimo. Surveillance showed a male suspect hook up the boat to the Dodge pickup and drive away. Police then say that the Dodge truck, now pulling the boat, was seen driving towards the northern part of Vancouver Island followed by the white Toyota Tacoma that had been reported stolen the week before.
At this point, the north Island community shared photographs and surveillance video on social media. Port Hardy RCMP say in a release they believe at this point the suspects became aware of the immense media exposure and tried to stay out of the public eye.
A few days later, the white Toyota Tacoma popped up, abandoned in the bushes behind Airport Inn on Byng Road in Port Hardy. Police say the truck was attempted to be concealed with branches covering the truck, and it was later confirmed it to be the same white Tacoma stolen from Victoria on June 26 and the one that had seen moving towards the north Island.
Tips began to trickle in of the silver Dodge and the white boat seen in the area, so police launched an extensive search in the Port Hardy area.
Police say on July 13 they located the silver Dodge pickup in the Chemainus area. Extra resources were called in to help with what police hoped would be a successful arrest, and just before 7 p.m., the 43-year-old male suspect and the 22-year-old female were arrested for the possession of the stolen pickup.
In the arrest, police found several stolen licence plates, drug and drug paraphernalia, and other stolen items.
After continuing their investigation, police found the stolen boat in good condition off a Forestry Road between Port Alice and Port McNeil.
Port Hardy RCMP say the north Island community’s use of social media played a big role in in the cross-Island investigation.
The male suspect is now facing numerous charges from several police jurisdictions all over Vancouver Island. He appeared in Duncan Provincial Court on July 16.