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Intoxicated Aussie man steals truck, crashes, flees on foot

Police Briefs: Shoplifting suspect recognized at detachment; Multiple vehicle collisions

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A 21-year-old Australian man is facing charges after he reportedly tried to steal a truck at a busy village intersection before crashing it into a nearby snowbank and leading police on a foot chase.

At about 9:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 7, police received a report of a male that had entered a truck at the intersection of Highway 99 and Village Gate Boulevard. Police said the truck’s owner was working nearby at the time, and left the keys in the vehicle.

While attempting to leave the scene, the suspect got the vehicle stuck in a snowbank, leading the male to flee the scene on foot. Shortly after, police said officers caught up with the suspect while he was running down the Valley Trail.

“During the investigation, it became clear that the suspect was intoxicated,” police said in a release, adding that the man is now facing possible charges of impaired driving on top of vehicle theft.

Police are asking any witnesses to the incident to contact the detachment at 604-932-3044 or Sea to Sky Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 to remain anonymous.

Police ID shoplifting suspect while she was at detachment reporting separate crime

Talk about wrong place, wrong time.

A 49-year-old woman attended the Whistler RCMP detachment last Wednesday, Jan. 2 with a friend who was reporting a crime. This, in itself, is not all that unusual, except for the fact that the Australian woman had been captured on security footage earlier in the day allegedly shoplifting “an item worth several hundred dollars” from a store in the village, police said.

In a stroke of pure chance, officers happened to be reviewing security footage of the woman at the very moment she was inside the detachment.

“The police officers noticed that the female looked remarkably similar to the woman in the video,” said Staff Sgt. Paul Hayes in a release.

After realizing officers had recognized her from the footage, the woman exited the building, leaving her friend to speak to police. Later that day, the woman turned herself into police at the detachment, where she was taken into custody.

The Aussie native was eventually released after police recovered the stolen item. Owners of the store, located in the 4200 block of Mountain Square, chose not to press charges and were “happy to have their item back,” police said.

Challenging road conditions lead to multiple collisions

As the snow continues to blanket the Sea to Sky, local police are urging drivers to remain cautious after several vehicle collisions last week.

Whistler and Pemberton RCMP received reports of eight motor-vehicle collisions over the course of just two days last week: Wednesday, Jan. 2 and Thursday, Jan. 3, when a deluge of snow hit the corridor, snarling traffic on the Sea to Sky Highway.

“Luckily no one was seriously injured in those collisions,” police said, “however, it is a timely reminder that, during this time of year, motorists need to build in longer commute times, slow down and leave extra distance between vehicles.”

Mounties also reminded drivers not to become “overly confident in your vehicle abilities because you have approved snow tires, chain, studs or four-wheel drive.”

Stranded skiers rescued

A pair of skiers were rescued near Fitzsimmons Creek on the final day of the year.

At about 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 31, Whistler RCMP was alerted to the two stranded males. The night prior, the men reportedly took a wrong turn while walking from Skier’s Plaza towards Whistler Blackcomb staff housing and ended up down an embankment near the creek. Unable to travel on their own out of the area, the skiers spent the night outdoors before Whistler Search and Rescue crews, with the support of Whistler Blackcomb, long-lined them to safety the following morning.

The men were subsequently treated for exposure at the local health clinic.

Outside of village brawl, a mellow New Year’s Eve for Whistler police

Whistler RCMP said New Year’s Eve was relatively tame, with only a handful of minor incidents, outside of a village brawl that resulted in the arrest of one suspect.

Police responded to 26 calls for service between the hours of 8 p.m. and 2 a.m., “for mostly minor issues,” according to a release.

“Whistler RCMP, as in previous years, developed and implemented a comprehensive operational plan to address any issues which may occur with the large influx of visitors to the community,” read the release.

The one exception was a brawl involving multiple people that broke out just north of the Ted Nebbling Bridge at 2:15 a.m.

While in the process of arresting one of the individuals, Mounties said an officer was bitten by a 23-year-old California resident. The man was subsequently released from custody on a promise to appear in court on charges of assaulting a peace officer.

The officer was taken to the local hospital with minor injuries.

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