Shuswap resident pepper-sprayed after interfering with theft in progress | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Shuswap resident pepper-sprayed after interfering with theft in progress

This image shows the suspects with the stolen truck and stolen paddleboards.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK / Lightcatch

A Shuswap woman is frustrated with the crime in her area after her husband was pepper-sprayed when trying to be a good samaritan.

The woman, who wishes to stay anonymous, says crime in the Lee Creek area has increased noticeably in the past four or five years. One of the crimes that most affects her neighbours is theft, and especially of boating equipment.

On July 16, her husband was driving home from work when he noticed two people loading paddleboards into a truck bed.

“My husband just stopped and asked them to please put them back because they were not their paddleboards that they were loading and he got pepper-sprayed as they went by, twice,” the woman says. “The first time they got him but he managed to put his arm up and cover most of it, but the second time they were coming around behind him and around him to pass him, and the woman out her passenger window tried to get him again as he was driving home."

His wife believes it was a bear spray canister that was used due to the severity of his skin, eye and throat irritation.

“He came home and started throwing water on his face, the back of his neck and his hair, and they got his arm really good because he had turned away from it. He got it mostly on the back of his head. But of course, that bear spray is really peppery and really strong. We called the ambulance and they came out and treated him and helped with the skin irritation and his eyes,” the woman says.

Her husband works in the trades and didn’t go back to work for a few days because he had trouble seeing and breathing.

The woman says the thefts in the area are a constant problem and believes most of the suspects are from out of town. She says many people in the community now use Lightcatch, an app that alerts residents of crimes in progress and allows people to post updates of suspect sightings.

When her husband first approached the thieves, he used his cellphone to record a video and handed the footage over to police.

Cpl. Aaron Janzen with the Chase RCMP says police didn’t recognize the people in the footage.

“Pictures that we have aren’t recognized by anybody in our detachment area so they must not be local,” Janzen says. “So far no suspects have been identified. We’re still following up on another lead.”

Although no suspects have been arrested in relation to the theft and assault, police were able to return one paddleboard and the stolen truck that was hauling them.

“Five different paddleboards reported stolen that evening and I believe one of them was returned to the owner because when we found the suspect vehicle it still had one paddleboard in it,” Janzen says.

When the police found the stolen truck in Chase, they were unable to find any forensic evidence that matched individuals in their database. The stolen truck was returned to its owner.

Janzen recommends anyone who witnesses a crime to call the police rather than get involved. For those who live in the area, he stresses the importance of locking up valuable equipment.

“On the north shore it's quite common for property crime of this nature this time of year,” Janzen says. “Definitely lock up your items. That’s why we have so many thefts in the area, its summer homes when people just figure there’s no crime in the area so they leave everything unattended in their yard.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jenna Wheeler or call (250) 819-6089 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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