A man new to Port Alberni is facing multiple charges after a bizarre incident involving stolen fire equipment from Beaver Creek Volunteer Fire Department.
Port Alberni RCMP received a call Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021 at 8:42 a.m. from someone who said a man entered their home after having driven there in what they recognized to be a Beaver Creek VFD fire vehicle. After being chased away, the accused drove back to the firehall in the duty truck and re-entered the building.
Port Alberni RCMP Sgt. Peter Dionne said he didn’t know how far away the complainant’s house was from the firehall, but the complainant recognized the vehicle as being from Beaver Creek VFD. “That person chased (the accused) out of their house and then called us. That’s how it came to our attention.”
Police attended the firehall and discovered a male inside the building wearing Beaver Creek VFD emergency gear. They discovered the person had broken a window to gain entry to the building and had stolen the duty truck (not a firetruck).
“We were lucky,” Beaver Creek VFD Chief Mike Kobus said. “It was all caught on videotape. It was lucky he was caught and lucky for the neighbours they saw what happened.”
Kobus said the neighbour that called in the break-in lives across the street from the fire department. The suspect was not known to the fire chief or the neighbour.
Joel Desjardins-Lavoie is facing charges in Port Alberni of break and enter with intent, break, enter and commit a criminal offence and theft of motor vehicle. Desjardins-Lavoie will be held in custody pending his next court appearance on Jan. 20, 2021.
“Overall, the actions of the accused are very concerning to police as they could have caused safety issues to both Beaver Creek firefighters and the Beaver Creek community,” Const. Rick Johns said.
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