A suspect in Nanaimo allegedly brandished this replica handgun during a break-in before ramming an RCMP vehicle head-on last week. (Photo submitted)

A suspect in Nanaimo allegedly brandished this replica handgun during a break-in before ramming an RCMP vehicle head-on last week. (Photo submitted)

Man brandishes replica gun in alleged break-in, crashes head-on into Nanaimo RCMP vehicle

Suspect was prohibited from driving and had arrest warrants from Sidney and Saanich

A man allegedly broke into a barn south of Nanaimo, brandished a BB gun when confronted, crashed into a police vehicle and got arrested.

The incident unfolded at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 7, when police responded to a report of a man who had broken into a barn on a rural property on Maughan Road. Upon being confronted by the property owner, the suspect produced what appeared to be a handgun and then fled in a vehicle, noted a Nanaimo RCMP press release.

An RCMP officer intercepted and a tried to stop the suspect’s vehicle, but the driver refused to stop and sped away. A short time later another officer came upon the vehicle, which was weaving and driving directly at his police vehicle. The suspect vehicle crashed head-on into the officer’s vehicle, causing the police vehicle’s airbags to deploy.

“The officer, while shaken from the airbag deploying, managed to exit his vehicle and take control of the suspect without incident,” the release noted.

The suspect was arrested for breaking and entering. Paramedics were called to deal with a significant cut the suspect sustained to his forehead.

Officers searched the suspect’s grey older-model Jeep for weapons or evidence and found a BB gun resembling a Remington 1875 .357 magnum handgun on the floor of the front passenger side of the vehicle, the release noted, along with power tools and a crack pipe. It was later confirmed that the tools were stolen from the barn the suspect had been seen leaving earlier.

The suspect was identified as Christopher Bergsma, 34, of Nanaimo, a prohibited driver with warrants for his arrest issued out of Sidney and Saanich.

Charges were formally laid against Bergsma on Wednesday, June 8, for break and enter, possession of break-in tools, dangerous driving, failing to stop for a police officer, and four counts of breach of court order. His next court appearance will be June 14.

“We are seeing these types of replica firearms more or and more often on the streets. Whether they are found in possession by criminals or with youth simply trying to impress their friends, it is not something we take lightly,” said reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in the release. “What these individuals do not realize is that police officers will always treat them as real firearms until such time they are proven otherwise. With that in mind, these calls could end with tragic consequences.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo RCMP respond ‘in force’ after man couldn’t wait to load replica gun he just bought

READ ALSO: Man walking around Nanaimo marsh with airsoft rifle concerning to police and nearby schools

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