Christmas came early for local police after the capture and arrest of a Fort St. John man believed to have indulged in a months-long crime spree in this area.
Twenty-one-year-old Ishmani Baker was apprehended in a multi-agency bust on a rural property near Trail at 10:40 a.m. Friday after repeatedly eluding police in the months previous, according to Trail top cop RCMP Sgt. Mike Wicentowich.
“ ...Police officers from the Trail and Greater District RCMP Detachment, Kootenay Boundary Regional GIS, Trail and Castlegar Crime Reduction Unit, West Kootenay Traffic Services, Kootenay Containment Team, and Cranbrook Police Dog Services attended a rural property located on Columbia Road, in Trail ...and arrested ... Baker for his 10 unendorsed Warrants of Arrest out of Fort. St. John,” Wicentowich said.
“Baker will be facing criminal charges in addition to the ones from Fort St. John. Stolen property was located during the arrest and will be returned to the owners.”
Police believe Baker has been in the area since the end of September, according to Castlegar top cop RCMP Sgt. Darren Oelke in an interview Thursday.
“We've seen a serious spike in local crime, especially in auto thefts,” Oelke said the day prior to the man's arrest. “Since the end of September, we've opened 24 files to which we believe he's connected.
“He's pretty much public enemy number one right now.”
Oelke said police repeatedly got close to nabbing the man, but he proved remarkably elusive.
“He keeps giving us the slip,” he said.
Also in a Thursday interview, Wicentowich said that Baker was much harder to catch because he wasn't local, so police didn't have a list of his known associates and hide-outs in the area.
“He's also much more motivated to escape,” Wicentowich said, explaining that at one point, a member had physically reached to hold on to the suspect, upon which Baker jumped out of a window. “Our members aren't going to pursue in a situation where doing so might result in serious injury to the member or a danger to the public.”
During this morning's raid, Baker once again tried to flee, but proved unable to outpace a Cranbrook Police Dog.
“(The arrest) went very smoothly, and involved a great deal of inter-agency cooperation,” Wicentowich said.
Baker will now be facing, not only a laundry list of charges from Fort St. John, but also an extensive slate of Kootenay area charges as well from the communities of Trail, Castlegar, Nelson and Kaslo.
For previous coverage, see https://castlegarsource.com/news/trail-police-seek-public-help-find-wanted-criminal