How a Vernon teen solved a crime and got two innocent people released - InfoNews

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How a Vernon teen solved a crime and got two innocent people released

Alec Healey, 13, took it upon himself to review hours of video surveillance footage to get to the bottom of an alleged vehicle theft.
April 03, 2018 - 6:30 PM

VERNON - Two people arrested for a crime they didn’t commit have a Vernon teen to thank for their release.

Alec Healey, a 13-year-old Seaton Secondary School student with ambitions of becoming a cop, went through hours of video surveillance footage to get to the bottom of a vehicle theft that allegedly occurred on Dec. 18 at the EconoLodge motel in Vernon. Police arrested two people found inside the Ford Fusion and kept them in custody.

Jen Ibuki, EconoLodge manager and Alec’s mom, thought it was strange when police called about the reported vehicle theft, because she hadn’t heard a thing about it.

“When we got the report form the police and nobody had reported it stolen to the front desk… it doesn’t matter if you have a clunker or a beautiful vehicle, you report it. You say ‘I want to see the footage. Where’s my car?’” Ibuki says.

She pulled up the hotel’s security footage and told her son about the incident.

“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer,” Alec says. “So I said ‘scoot over, I’m taking over.’”

With the make, model and colour of the vehicle, Alec set to work studying hours upon hours of video footage until he found it — the key to the puzzle.

“Well, I found that the owner of the vehicle was practically completely aware of what was happening,” Alec says. “It was like, no signs of… yelling or getting upset at the person entering your vehicle.”

It was clear to Alec that the alleged “theft” hadn’t actually occurred — at least not the way the victim had reported it. He put the video evidence on a USB and gave it to police.

“I was like ‘here you go, here’s all the video surveillance you need.’ He was very grateful,” Alec says.

In light of the newfound evidence, the two people being held in custody were released.

“Two innocent people don’t deserve to be treated with injustice that they didn’t deserve,” Alec says.

RCMP spokesperson Const. Kelly Brett said in a written response the individuals were arrested shortly after the report was made, and were held in custody for possession of stolen property based on the victim’s account.

“The individuals were not charged as they didn't actually steal the vehicle. The video showed another side of the victim's story than was originally reported to police,” Brett says.

Why didn’t police check the footage themselves?

“I can`t speak directly to this as I was not involved with the file,” Brett says. “However, I know that police conducted the investigation based on the information at the time of the call. I do not know how many hours of video were viewed and how far back the young man reviewed to put the puzzle pieces together. Investigators often don`t have access to video surveillance at the time of the call and from my understanding the occupants of the vehicle were arrested within minutes of the report being made to police. Once anyone is arrested for an offence, the police have 24 hours to conduct their investigation.”

Police thanked Alec for his hard work and awarded him with a certificate of appreciation. The Grade 8 student says reviewing the footage was fun and he “didn’t have anything better to do” anyways.

His goal is to work on the RCMP K9 unit someday and “arrest bad people.” He’ll be looking for more opportunities to use his investigative skills and plans to take the advice officers gave him when they learned of his aspirations.

“Get good grades and just do my best,” he says.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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