TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN
With guns drawn Brandon Police Service members take down a suspect (obstructed by the vehicle) in a string of car robberies after a stolen Buick LeSabre hit the ditch on Highway 110 east of Brandon after a police pursuit on Tuesday morning. Two suspects, a man and a woman, were taken into custody.
Two accused are expected to make a court appearance today in relation to a cross-Prairie crime spree that came to an end with a high-speed chase and a crash at the city’s eastern outskirts.
This timeline is based on allegations provided by police and Brandon Sun sources. (GRANT HAMILTON)
With guns drawn Brandon Police Service members march a suspect in a string of car robberies up to a police car after a stolen Buick LeSabre hit the ditch on Highway 110 east of Brandon after a police pursuit on Tuesday morning. Two suspects, a man and a woman, were taken into custody. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Brandon Police Service and RCMP members congregate at the scene of a takedown after a stolen Buick LeSabre hit the ditch on Highway 110 east of Brandon after a police pursuit on Tuesday morning. Two suspects, a man and a woman, were taken into custody. (TIM SMITH/BRANDON SUN)
Speeds reached more than 150 km/h, and at least two vehicles were struck during the bid to evade police, but remarkably, no one was seriously hurt.
"We’re just glad that everyone came out of this safe and sound," Manitoba RCMP spokeswoman Tara Seel said.
Mounties say the spree stretched across three provinces, leaving a trail of break-ins and stolen vehicles.
They and the Brandon Police Service were busy piecing together the series of events, which appears to have begun in Alberta and continued east into Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
As of Thursday afternoon, investigators had traced the string of crimes back to Lethbridge, Alta., where they believe a vehicle was stolen.
It appears another vehicle was stolen in Moose Jaw, Sask.
More details are made available as the path is followed east.
Around 5 a.m. on Thursday, in Sintaluta, Sask., a stolen SUV was rammed into the overhead door of a gas station/hardware store. The attempt to get into the business failed and the culprit or culprits fled to Wapella, Sask.
Around 7:30 a.m. RCMP were called to Wapella for a report of a stolen pickup truck. An SUV and the stolen pickup truck had been witnessed going east on the Trans-Canada Highway.
The truck from Wapella was found later that morning in Moosomin, Sask., as RCMP investigated a report that another pickup had been stolen from that town.
Mounties also found a grey vehicle that might be the SUV used in the botched Sintaluta break-in, but they haven’t confirmed that yet.
The pickup stolen from Moosomin, in turn, was abandoned in the Elkhorn area, where yet another pickup truck was stolen.
Seel said Manitoba RCMP had been alerted by their Saskatchewan counterparts.
Virden RCMP were also aware of the pickup stolen from Elkhorn when they spotted it heading east on the Trans-Canada Highway.
Two cruisers gave chase, but the truck reportedly reached 150 km/h to 160 km/h and Mounties called off the chase due to safety concerns.
At one point, just east of Virden, the fleeing truck rammed another vehicle, but there were no injuries.
Brandon RCMP and the Brandon Police Service were notified and Mounties patrolled the Trans-Canada, while the BPS stationed officers at each of the city’s entrances.
Meanwhile, police were alerted that a 1999 Buick LeSabre had been stolen from Oak Lake.
Shortly before 10 a.m., Brandon police stationed at Kemnay spotted that car and chased it east along Highway 1A, where the speed again reached 150 km/h.
BPS Sgt. Mike Pelechaty said police tried unsuccessfully to get the car to stop before it reached the city, and there wasn’t time to deploy equipment such as a spike belt.
The LeSabre then entered the city and continued to speed along Victoria Avenue.
One man who posted to the Brandon Sun Facebook page claimed that his vehicle was nearly hit by the car at the corner of Sixth Street and Victoria Avenue.
Another poster said she counted seven BPS cars and one RCMP cruiser in pursuit by the time the LeSabre reached Victoria Avenue East.
Pelechaty said the car’s speed had dipped in the city due to the amount of traffic, but along Victoria Avenue East it reached about 150 km/h again.
It then turned north onto Highway 110, where it struck another vehicle as it tried to pass and both vehicles wound up in the ditch.
A man and woman in the struck vehicle weren’t hurt.
Brandon police cars swarmed the crash scene and officers armed with shotguns arrested the man and woman who’d been in the LeSabre.
The woman was taken to hospital, where she was treated for undisclosed injuries she’d received prior to the incident.
She and her co-accused were taken to the Brandon jail and await an appearance in Brandon court this morning.
A 42-year-old man and 33-year-old woman — both from Calgary — are charged with possession of property obtained by crime, dangerous driving and flight from police. Their names haven’t been released.
Further charges may be pending in relation to the crimes from communities west of Brandon.
Video via Global Winnipeg:
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition January 3, 2014