Victoria, BC – Officers are thanking members of the James Bay community today after their assistance led to the arrest of a hiding suspect wanted for a break and enter to a nearby business after a multi-hour search.
A solo officer was first called to a hotel in the 100-block of Kingston Street just before 9 a.m. after staff discovered that a man and woman had broken into a secured area. When confronted by security staff, the man became aggressive while the woman gathered some belongings. The two departed the area prior to police arrival. Security staff reported to the responding officer that among the items left behind were several makeshift weapons including a homemade conductive energy weapon. After speaking with staff, the officer patrolled the area around the hotel looking for the pair.
Approximately 30 minutes later, the officer located the pair nearby. As the officer approach the couple, the male began to back away and then fled. The officer called for back-up and gave chase on foot. The suspect ran through MacDonald park towards the James Bay Community School and the James Bay Community Centre, which houses a pre-school. The suspect ran through a group of children and entered the buildings, running through a pre-school classroom and down a hallway with the lone officer in pursuit. The suspect exited the building and continued running into a parking lot belonging to an apartment building on St. James street. At this time the suspect dropped a bag and some clothing that he was carrying and leapt over a fence. During this time additional officers converged on the James Bay area and set up a containment area.
James Bay Community School went into a voluntary “hold and secure” posture, and public notifications of the suspect’s description were sent out through our VicPDCanada Twitter account. Officers locked down their containment area. The lone officer recovered the discarded bag, and searched it, discovering drugs and break-in tools. Officers then began a thorough yard-to-yard search of the area.
Just after 10 a.m. the suspect was spotted by one of the back-up officers who had arrived to provide containment support and a second foot chase ensued, with the suspect again moving to a hiding place out of sight of officers. This second chase directed the suspect back into the containment area. Officers resumed their search. It was during our search many area residents came forward to our officers on scene and shared information that allowed our search area to be narrowed to the 300-block of St. James Street.
A citizen, alerted by the public notifications, media coverage and police activity, called 911 at 11:30 a.m. to say he had spotted the suspect hiding in a tree in front of an apartment building in the 300-block of St. James Street. Officers converged on the area and the suspect again attempted to flee, but was taken into custody by the original lone officer who first responded to the break and enter call. The suspect was searched and found to be in possession of a knife. The suspect was taken to hospital where he was treated for non-life-threatening injuries related to jumping over fences.
“It was the assistance of James Bay residents on scene that pointed us to the suspect,” Sgt. Barrie Cockle said. “It’s clear a strong community that exists there with the many people who helped during the search.”
Once identified, officers established that the suspect was breaching multiple court-ordered conditions, which included prohibitions from possessing drugs, break-in tools and weapons. While the file is still under investigation, multiple charges including breaching court-ordered conditions, breaking and entering and obstruction of a police officer are all being considered. Officers have tentatively identified the female involved. No children or officers were injured in this file.