Mounties in Nanaimo were able to make an arrest, but not before a suspect fled, jumped into the waters of Newcastle Channel, tried to steal a kayak and then was corralled by boat owners brandishing boat hooks.
According to police, the incident started Monday at about 2 p.m. when Nanaimo RCMP members checked out a report of a man sleeping on a bench at the Chinese Memorial Gardens Park at St. George Street and Stewart Avenue. As the officers spoke with the 25-year-old man, he allegedly pulled out a pipe and started smoking an illegal street drug in front of them, which prompted his immediate arrest. When the officers asked him to identify himself, he ran across Stewart Avenue to the Nanaimo Shipyards property, jumped in the water and, after a short, cold swim, he allegedly tried to steal a kayak from a moored boat.
The suspect’s activities drew notice from several boat owners nearby who decided to assist the Mounties by gathering up some boat hooks, which they used to corner the suspect on the dock.
Const. Mike Eckert, operating an RCMP Zodiac, pulled up to the dock and took the man into custody. After fitting him with a lifejacket and handcuffs, Eckert and Const. Mike Woods took the suspect to the downtown Boat Basin where he was turned over to more officers and arrested for obstruction and possession of a controlled substance believed to be crystal methamphetamine. He also had two outstanding warrants from Nanaimo for theft and possession of stolen property.
He was released later the same day on a promise to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in late September.
“This was a great work on part of the boat owners. Their quick and adept actions ended any ideas the suspect had of continuing his escape,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in a press release.