Man just released from jail suspected of auto theft in Port Alberni

Incident leaves Port Alberni RCMP inspector frustrated

Port Alberni RCMP Inspector Brian Hunter is getting tired of ‘visitors’ to Port Alberni enjoying the hospitality of the local constabulary.

Hunter said a particular male, who was arrested in Port Alberni on June 1 for a number of arrest warrants for breaching a probation order out of Nanaimo, was arrested again on June 8 after Port Alberni RCMP received a call of a vehicle theft in progress.

The person who called RCMP was preparing to use their vehicle in the Fourth Avenue and Burde Street neighbourhood and momentarily left the vehicle unattended with the keys in the ignition. The male suspect hopped into the vehicle and stole it. A witness followed the vehicle at a safe distance and provided updates to the police. When the suspect realized he was being followed he abandoned the vehicle around 10th Avenue and Bute Street, and ran away.

The police located and arrested the male a short distance away, at Ninth Avenue and Bute Street.

The suspect is a 36-year-old male who appears to have arrived in Port Alberni within the last few months, Hunter said. “The male, who came from the Nanaimo area, has an extensive criminal record.” He is before the courts on several other matters, according to Hunter.

READ: Chronic offenders continue to plague Port Alberni

READ: Alberni RCMP kept busy with 170 calls over May long weekend

“It’s yet another example of Port Alberni RCMP dealing with a criminal that’s not even from here. They got a light sentence, were released back in the community and are committing crimes almost instantaneously again,” Hunter said.

“It’s very frustrating.”

The male has been held in custody, facing a new charge of theft. The Port Alberni RCMP will be seeking his detention in jail and asking that he be banned from being in Port Alberni, Hunter said.

Hunter credited the witness for their quick action, but cautioned people about getting directly involved.

“The public is reminded not to place themselves or anyone else in danger when witnessing a crime in progress,” he said. “In this instance, the witnesses used a controlled and safe response to update the police which helped resolve the matter quickly and safely.”

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