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Stolen vehicles, break-in and standoff lead to arrests in High River: RCMP

WATCH (May 8, 2019): Investigators say a man and a woman have been taken into custody after fleeing police in a stolen vehicle. As Tracy Nagai reports, the intense situation finally ended when officers arrested one of the suspects who was hiding in the attic of a High River home.

Two people were arrested after stolen vehicles sped out of Calgary and a standoff took over a neighbourhood in High River on Tuesday, May 7, police said.

A Calgary police HAWCS helicopter followed a black Hyundai Tucson and a silver 2010 Audi A4 heading south on Highway 2 out of Calgary at around 4:30 p.m.​, according to police.

Cpl. Blair Schneider said officers attempted to stop them in Okotoks, but the vehicles — believed to be travelling in tandem — sped off and parted ways, so HAWCS decided to track the Audi.

Officers don’t know where the Tucson went or further details about it.

The Audi drove into High River at “extremely high rates of speed,” at one point in excess of 180 kilometres per hour, Schneider said. Then it crashed in an alley on 3 Avenue S.E. and 18 Street S.E.

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Schneider said police found a handgun near the crash scene, which was later determined to be a BB gun. Investigators believe it allegedly belonged to the Audi driver.

A 17-year-old Airdrie girl, who was a passenger, was arrested near the scene within minutes, police said.

A 22-year-old Calgary man, who was the driver, ran off and allegedly broke into a house near 20 Street S.E. and 3 Avenue S.E., the homeowners of which were not home at the time, and barricaded himself inside, RCMP said.

“He smashed through a window, went in and we found him in the roof rafters on the second floor,” Schneider said.

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RCMP asked people to stay away from that area as a heavy police presence descended on the house.

There was a large police presence outside a High River home on Tuesday night.
There was a large police presence outside a High River home on Tuesday night. Tom Andriuk/Global News

RCMP tweeted there was no danger to the public, but the Emergency Response Team and tactical units surrounded the home for much of the evening.

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“[The suspect] went into this house that nobody knew the layout of. It was confirmed that there were other firearms in the residence,” Schneider said. “So for everybody’s safety, we decided to set up containment, and leave it to the experts and the Emergency Response Team came.”

“We evacuated residences on the east and west side as well as across the street,” he said. “Some people were home; we advised them to remain in their basement, just in case they got into a crossfire situation.”

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Officers could be seen carrying a chainsaw and ladders into the home. Schneider said that pepper spray was used.

The man did not come out of the house on his own, police said, and an ERT member had to go up in the rafters and handcuff him. He was taken into custody after 9:30 p.m., police said.

“There was a little bit of damage to the house,” Schneider said. “There was some flooding that occurred in the basement.”

Schneider said a large stone was thrown and hit the toilet, which caused the flooding.

“There’s some other damage to the drywall, insulation, that type of thing, so he’s charged with mischief, too.”

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Both suspects were charged with possession of crystal meth, Schneider said, adding it’s believed the male suspect was also under the influence of illicit drugs.

“The investigation is continuing and both suspects are facing multiple Criminal Code charges,” RCMP said in a news release late on May 7.

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No one was injured.

Cpl. Blair Schneider said officers attempted to stop two stolen vehicles in Okotoks on Tuesday, but they sped off and parted ways.
Cpl. Blair Schneider said officers attempted to stop two stolen vehicles in Okotoks on Tuesday, but they sped off and parted ways. Bruce Aalhus/Global News

Charges

​On May 9, RCMP said the 17-year-old faces four charges but she cannot be named because she is a minor. She was released with conditions.

RCMP said Branden Brett Davidson, 22, was charged with 35 offences, including:

  • ​flight from police
  • possession of stolen property over $5,000
  • four counts of possession of stolen property under $5,000
  • possession of a weapon for dangerous purpose
  • dangerous driving
  • breaking and entering
  • mischief over $5,000
  • possession of methamphetamine
  • seven counts of failing to comply with conditions of a recognizance
  • 11 counts of failing to comply with a probation order
  • six offences under the Traffic Safety Act

Davidson is in custody and is scheduled to appear in Okotoks Provincial Court on June 7.

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Witness accounts

On May 8, Erin Paulgaard gave kudos to RCMP for making her family feel safe in their neighbourhood.

“A car crashed in the back alley,” she said, describing the scene. “A guy jumped the fence came across our front lawn and then we didn’t know where he went.”

“There were sniper guys in our backyard. They had things ready… and they kept checking the perimeter of our house.”

She said officers were on a loudspeaker talking to the man.

“Actually, it was kind of — I shouldn’t say exciting, but I mean, High River: who would’ve thought?”

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There was a large police presence outside a High River home on Tuesday night.
There was a large police presence outside a High River home on Tuesday night. Tom Andriuk/Global News

Fia Bruinsma said she saw the man being led out of the house wearing only shorts. She doesn’t want an incident like this to happen again.

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“It’s a bit alarming. It’s a little bit nerve-racking to have things like that happen in a usually very quiet neighbourhood,” she said.