Brodie Frehlich was shocked to find his car windows shattered and tires flattened by a flurry of bullets when he and his partner Anna Planedin hiked down Mt. Arrowsmith on Saturday morning.
“It was a pretty frustrating and disappointing experience,” said Frehlich, who was visiting the area from Victoria.
He and Planedin had left the car at the base of the ‘saddle route’ on Mt. Arrowsmith, on a logging road not too far off Highway 4, at about 3:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon before hiking up the mountain and camping overnight.
“We came down in good spirits at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday morning to find that my VW Golf had been trashed,” Frehlich said. Only the windshield was spared in the assault; all the other windows were shattered, the tires were flattened and bullet holes riddled the car body.
“The first thing I noticed were the flat tires, followed by the smashed windows and the bullet holes in the body and interior of the car,” said Frehlich. There were .22 calibre shells scattered around the car. Frehlich and Planedin found six, but said they didn’t look too extensively.
Apart from “the thoughtlessness and irresponsibility of the culprits,” Frehlich said, he was also shocked by what he called the RCMP’s apparent lack of response and “failure to take the issue seriously.”
He said that it took multiple calls before the officer handling his case got back to him.
“I called the police at 9:55 a.m. and the RCMP representative who answered the call was sympathetic and told us he would have an officer call us and that they’d want to come and look at the scene, so we stayed put and didn’t touch anything.”
After not immediately hearing back, Frehlich called back at 11:06 a.m.—over an hour later.
“I spoke with someone else this time, who asked much of the same questions and said he would forward a message to the officer assigned.”
It took another half hour for that officer to call Frehlich.
“At 11:42 a.m., I got a call from the officer who was handling the case. He was polite and sympathetic enough, but he made no offer to come and check the crime scene or gather any real details.”
Instead, Frehlich said the officer told him “he would keep an eye on social media to see if any teenagers were bragging about the act.”
He’s disappointed in the police response.
“Something isn’t right when the response of the police to the reckless use of firearms is to browse Facebook from the comfort of the office. What if someone had been sleeping in the car?”
Cpl. Jen Allan said that’s not a typical RCMP response for such severe car vandalism cases.
“Typically we would respond to a complaint of that nature,” Allan said, adding that she hadn’t spoken to the officer handling the case.
“Certainly when a firearm is involved it would be a policy to attend.”
This sort of vandalism isn’t anything that Allan can remember seeing during her time with the detachment.
“I’ve been here for four years and never seen anything like this.”
Frehlich said that he was disappointed that multiple media outlets got a hold of him before the police did.
“It’s too bad it took media attention to get things going,” he said.
“I finally got a call this evening (Monday) from another officer who this time was very helpful and who apologized for how things were handled on Saturday.”
That call finally resulted in a site visit and a commitment to pick up the shells that Frehlich picked up at the site.
The officer took a detailed statement and Frehlich was told someone went out to visit the site, he said.
“He is also having someone pick up the shells here in Victoria to be dusted for fingerprints.”
Allan said that the crime would be featured in Crimestoppers Crime of the Week and that anyone with any information can call the their local detachment or Crimestoppers. The Crimestoppers line, 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), is anonymous.