Police have a man in custody after an armed robbery in Melita on Tuesday evening that led to a dramatic highway chase into Saskatchewan the next morning.
Just before 7 p.m. on Tuesday, a man in a white ski mask burst into Waterboy's Store in Melita, armed with a rifle. He threatened an employee and demanded cash, then fled in a pickup truck after taking an undisclosed amount of money.
The next morning, just before 10:30 a.m., while Melita RCMP were still investigating the previous evening's armed robbery, they got a call about a gas-and-dash theft that had just happened in Melita. A description of the pickup matched the one from the armed robbery, and officers quickly spotted it in the town of Melita.
However, when they tried to pull it over, the man took off, leading police on a chase down rural highways and roads into Saskatchewan.
Despite using a spike belt — which blew out three of the truck's tires — the suspect managed to drive on three rims for about half an hour. Finally, with help from Carnduff RCMP, the suspect was brought to ground after he tried to drive around a police blockade on Highway 8 in Saskatchewan.
At that point, the truck ended up in a snow-filled ditch, and the man behind the wheel was arrested.
Police say that the truck, which turned out to be a 2007 Ford F-350, and the firearm used in the robbery both turned out to have been stolen. The truck had been originally taken from Saskatoon.
A 26-year-old man from Estevan, Sask., was held in custody after appearing in court Thursday in Brandon. He faces numerous charges, including armed robbery, impaired driving, gas theft, flight from police and firearms offences.
Westman RCMP contine to investigate, with help from the RCMP Forensic Identification Services and RCMP Brandon's Major Crime Unit.