Wild pursuit, alleged crime spree across North Okanagan leads to 27-year-old’s arrest

A Salmon Arm man is facing a string of charges after allegedly going on a crime spree across the North Okanagan over the weekend and being the subject of a lengthy police pursuit.

The series of events began on Friday at around 8:45 p.m. when officers were told to be on the lookout for a white SUV that has been stolen “from a neighboring jurisdiction,” RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Tania Finn said.

The driver of the stolen vehicle allegedly committed thefts from other vehicles in the Enderby area before almost causing a head-on collision in nearby Coldstream at around 1 a.m.

Police pursued the driver, but he escaped at a high rate of speed.

At 2:30 a.m., Mounties responded to an attempted break-and-enter at a business in the 3100 block of 29 Avenue in Vernon where a white SUV had been seen driving off.

Twenty minutes later, an officer spotted the vehicle along Highway 97, north of Vernon.

The driver refused to stop, police said, and continued travelling north.

“Our frontline officers working in the North Rural area were alerted the vehicle was heading their way and encountered the SUV near Armstrong,” Finn said.

“As our officer set up the spike belt, a flare gun was discharged at the officer and the suspect managed to flee. Fortunately, the flare did not strike our officer.”

As the driver fled once again, he failed to navigate a corner and ended up in a field, police said.

As officers approached, he took off once more and police deployed a second spike belt. This time it worked, and the vehicle was disabled.

The driver, a 27-year-old man from Salmon Arm, was arrested and faces a slew of charges, including theft over $5,000, mischief, breaking and entering, possession of stolen property over $5,000, flight from police, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, and assaulting a police officer.

No one was injured.

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