One if by land, three if by sea? Police nab trio of alleged would-be boat thieves during water-borne getaway
Whether criminals attempt to escape by land or by sea, it would appear the local long arm of the law will reach them.
Saturday morning saw Nelson RCMP, Kaslo RCMP and the Conservation Office join forces to nab a trio of would-be boat thieves who tried to escape over water with their ill-gotten gains, according to Nelson RCMP Cpl. Michael Stephani.
“On (Oct. 11 at 9:49 a.m.), Nelson RCMP received a call of a theft (in progress) of a boat,” Stephani said. “The complainant, a resident of Nelson’s Northshore, watched as one male drove away in his aluminum boat while two other males were in a separate boat. One of the boats appeared to have trouble and, at one point, looked as if one boat was towing the other. Const. Douglas, a member of Kalso detachment, happened to be driving by and stopped and witnessed the two boats with the complainant and provided updates as to their location.”
Stefani said he then drove to Macdonald’s Landing, where the two boats could be seen heading up the lake.
“Two members from Conservation, Jason Hawkes and Ben Beetlestone who were conduction angling checks on the Main Lake, overheard the broadcast, and redirected their efforts to assist,” Stephani said, adding he was then joined by Douglas at Macdonald’s Landing, where the two watched as the suspects loaded all occupants into one of the boats and left the other behind.
“Douglas remained at this point to watch and radio the location of the culprits,” he said, adding the Conservation Officers then met and picked him up on a wharf along the 3000 block of Highway 3a. “(We) then headed up the lake and caught up to the stolen boat just off of Crescent Bay. The three males initially pretended to not see the boat being operated by Conservation, but eventually did stop.
“The three males were placed under arrest and, one-by-one, handcuffed, placed in a lifejacket, and taken on board the CO’s boat. While on scene in the middle of the lake, the owner of the boat attended via Seadoo and identified the boat the three occupants were in as his.
“The three males were taken to Kokanee boat launch, with the recovered stolen boat being towed behind. One of the males during this voyage became belligerent and attempted to sit up to jump out of the boat and had to be physically restrained for a period.”
Once at the boat launch, Stephani said, Douglas and Cpl. Begg, also from Kaslo detachment, met the boat and assisted in unloading the passengers to awaiting police cars, where they were eventually transported to Nelson RCMP cells.
“This was an amazing piece of teamwork from two neighbouring RCMP detachments and local Conservation Officers,” he said. “The Conservation Officers were instrumental in providing the police with the ability to gain access to the water in such a short time to apprehend the thieves.
“As the investigation unfolded it was determined the second boat that was used and left was also stolen out of Creston. The thieves in this case actually tried to sink the vessel, seemly just for fun. The Conservation Officers again went above and beyond by tracking the boat down, which was partially submerged, removed the outboard motor for safe keeping and were able to tow the boat across the lake so it could be recovered by the police.”
All three individuals have been charged with theft, and possession of stolen property, with one of the culprits having also been charged with obstructing a police officer as he lied about identity.
All three will appear in Nelson court in December.