May 3, 2014 6:00 pm

Entire Sask. village teams up with RCMP to catch alleged car thieves

Tractor carrying RCMP officers while searching for three car thieves near Briercrest, Saskatchewan.

RCMP / Supplied

MILESTONE, Sask. – Saskatchewan RCMP are thanking the community of Briercrest for going above and beyond in assisting police in locating car thieves on Friday.

Around 4:30 a.m., RCMP were called out over a report of a stolen truck in the town of Briercrest, Saskatchewan.

RCMP Sgt. Paul Dawson says it’s alleged the three suspects, who are all under 18, left Regina in a stolen Subaru early Friday, abandoned it in the community of Rouleau, and then stole a truck.

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He says they made their way to nearby Briercrest, but a resident who spotted them suspected the truck was stolen and took action.

Dawson says when the suspects left the truck parked for a few moments, the resident swiftly opened the door and grabbed the keys.

The resident called police, and the village activated an emergency telephone call-out system to warn everyone to keep an eye out for the suspects.

Residents jumped in their pickups and fanned out on grid roads. Others canvassed the wet and boggy areas with quads, an all terrain vehicle.

One resident, a local pilot, took to the air to conduct a grid search.

More officers from neighbouring communities, including some with tracking dogs, were called in to help.

Hours into the search, a resident reported seeing three people walking through a wet and muddy field. It was so muddy, police said, that not even a four-wheel-drive could cross it.

A farmer offered his tractor, and RCMP rode in a bucket on the front and chased the suspects down.

Dawson said the residents were careful, calling police each time they spotted the suspects rather than chasing them themselves.

He said the fleeing suspects had nowhere to hide from the local searchers.

“It’s kind of the perfect storm. They’re well organized. They have all kinds of machinery and resources at their disposal and they know the area better than the police, and obviously better than these three people,” Dawson said.

“Coupled with that, you have Prairie landscape, which is very flat. It’s difficult to hide when you have those type of elements working against you.”

All three Regina teens are now facing various charges including theft, possession of stolen property and breaches of probation. They are being held in a Moose Jaw police station.

With files from Global News’ Thomas Piller

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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