Police on wildfire duty nab Oliver car thief

Police on wildfire duty nab Oliver car thief

RCMP apprehended an Oliver car thief on Saturday. (Jacob Cathro)

RCMP assisting with wildfires ended up nabbing a car thief from Oliver on Saturday by using a spike belt.

A 29-year-old Oliver man is facing charges after being arrested in the Peachland area with a stolen vehicle.

On July 21 around 2:00 p.m., RCMP officers providing support for the Mount Eneas wildfires spotted a stolen blue Mitsubishi Lancer traveling northbound along Highway 97 entering Peachland.

Officers in the Central Okanagan were alerted by dispatch operators that the target vehicle had been reported as stolen to RCMP in Oliver, just 45 minutes prior, said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey, spokesman for the Kelowna Regional RCMP.

“Since the auto theft, the Mitsubishi Lancer had been the subject of multiple erratic and dangerous driving complaints in the South Okanagan.”

The suspect actively evaded and failed to stop for RCMP in Penticton before continuing north on Highway 97 towards Kelowna.

The driver avoided an RCMP road block checkpoint on Highway 97 so officers deployed a spike belt near Buchanan Road in Peachland.

“The suspect once again failed to stop for police and continued on,” Cpl. O’Donaghey said.

The driver eventually rammed into both a fully marked and unmarked police vehicle, before being forced off the roadway and taken into police custody without further incident.

“Our officers were very concerned for both public and police safety, this includes the safety of their suspect,” said Cpl. O’Donaghey.

“Thankfully neither our officers, any members of the general public or our suspect suffered any injuries as a result.”

The suspect faces numerous potential criminal charges and remains in police custody in Kelowna awaiting his first court appearance.