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Pair of Vernon men honoured for helping police chase thief across Okanagan Lake

Dave Lowry (left) and John Barber helped police track down a prolific offender Aug. 10, 2015 on Okanagan Lake.
October 13, 2015 - 1:00 PM


VERNON - If their morning coffees didn’t wake them up, the police chase sure did.

John Barber, 65, and Dave Lowry, 64, were enjoying a cup of coffee the morning of Aug. 10, 2015 — Barber on his dock on Okanagan Lake, and Lowry in his house — when they both noticed something that made them put down their coffee.

“When someone goes by your place in a partially deflated Zodiac and three kayaks… you know something’s not right about this picture,” Lowry says. “You need to react somehow which is what we did…. If those were my boats I’d want someone to do that for me.”

Barber confronted the driver and managed to take a picture of him hiding one of the kayaks. Meanwhile, Lowry called 9-1-1 and they waited for police to arrive.

Their involvement didn’t end with a police report. The neighbours ended up ferrying officers across the lake using Barber's boat to pursue the suspect.

When the suspect realized he was being followed, he took the boat ashore and then took off into the woods. With the help of a police dog, officers arrested him a short time later. The 40-year-old man had a number of stolen items on him, along with break and enter instruments and bear spray. Police identified him as a prolific offender out of Kelowna.

Lowry and Barber say they were happy to help and insist they weren’t afraid to be involved in the police pursuit.

“Never. We had a guy with a gun,” Lowry says. “It was fun, a hell of a way to start a Monday morning.”

The two men were recognized for their acts at the Vernon RCMP detachment today, Oct. 13 — an honour neither of them expected.

“In my mind we should all take an active role in assisting the police if there’s something we can do, because they can’t do it all. If there’s something we can be eyes and ears for to help them I think it’s the right thing to do and the more people that do it the less problems we’ll have all around,” Barber says.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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