Suspect steals police car to evade Mounties

A Nanaimo man who allegedly stole a patrol car to evade police is in custody.

A Nanaimo man who allegedly stole an RCMP patrol car to evade police is in custody.

The chase started at about 10 p.m. Thursday when the suspect refused to stop at a police road check on Cedar Road near the Regional District Landfill and sped off.

Police gave chase and found the suspect’s older model Cadillac Eldorado abandoned near the Nanaimo River bridge on Cedar Road.

A police dog team was called in to track the suspect. When the track lead to the water’s edge, police thought he may have entered the river and called in North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department and B.C. Ambulance paramedics to help in the search. A few moments later a woman on Raines Road called 911 saying a man had kicked in the front door of her home and was in the house.

Officers, just 200 metres from the house, rushed in and searched the house, but failed to find the suspect. The woman was not injured.

More officers arriving on the scene saw the suspect, who had managed to slip out of the house and into a police car, driving the car out of the driveway.

“One of the members tried to do a pit maneuver to stop him, but it was icy and [the member] spun out,” said Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman. “[The suspect] basically drove like a bat out of hell for the next 20 minutes.”

Police tracked the stolen patrol car through its onboard GPS locator and managed to deflate all its tires with a spike belt deployed near the Cedar General Store on Cedar Road.

The suspect bailed out of the car a short distance down the road and fled through the bushes.

A police dog managed to track down the suspect at about 2 a.m. to a home on Cedar Road where he was arrested without incident.

Tyler Desmond Fong, 28 – who was already wanted on outstanding arrest warrants for dangerous driving and possession of stolen property – appeared in Nanaimo provincial court Friday morning charged with dangerous driving, attempting to evade police, breaking and entering, theft of a motor vehicle and possession of stolen property.

O’Brien said the homeowner was traumatized by the incident, but it is fortunate no one was injured and the stolen police car received no significant damage.