RCMP use spike belt to nab car thieves 

RCMP from Squamish and Whistler used a spike belt on Highway 99 to apprehend two Lower Mainland thieves in the early morning hours of Aug. 18, deflating the tires of a 2009 Dodge Journey they had taken from the Tantalus area of Squamish.

According to Corporal Dave Ritchie of the Squamish RCMP, an undercover member was fuelling at the Chevron station in an unmarked car when a member of the public brought their attention to two suspicious males breaking into a vehicle on Tantalus Road. The unmarked car shadowed the vehicle to see what the thieves were up to, and whether there was evidence of impaired driving.

When the undercover member was satisfied to make an arrest he activated his emergency lights, at which point the suspects fled in the vehicle. The undercover vehicle chased the suspects on residential roads after deciding there was little risk to the public at 4 a.m., and then followed the stolen vehicle onto the highway heading north.

The RCMP kept up the pursuit, and contacted Whistler RCMP. The Whistler RCMP responded by deploying a spike belt in the Calcheak area, effectively deflating all four tires of the stolen vehicle that came to a stop roughly 4 km down the road. Both males were arrested, a 21 year old from Port Moody and a 28 year old from Surrey. The two were still in custody at press time awaiting their first appearance in court.

They are being charged with dangerous driving, flight from police, possession of stolen property and theft under $5,000 in relation to other vehicle break-ins the two are suspected of committing in the area.

The RCMP have also located the vehicle that the two used to drive to Squamish, and are in the process of determining whether it was stolen.

Cpl. Ritchie says the use of spike belts is the preferred way to end a pursuit. "This vehicle hit (the belt) at a very high speed, but it doesn't cause a loss of control as the tires deflate at a steady rate," he said.

Normally the RCMP don't allow high speed pursuits to go that distance, but said the risk to the public was minimal at that time of day with no drivers on the road.

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