What do a man stuck in a tunnel, a nude ambulance hijacking and drunken antics on a plane have in common?
They’re all among the strangest crime stories Manitoba law enforcement had to deal with in 2020. While police and RCMP were busy with the usual murder and mayhem throughout the year, they also encountered some of these weird and wild cases.
10: Handcuffed escapee recaptured
A bathroom break turned into a bid for freedom at a hospital in The Pas in November.
RCMP had arrested Rodney St. Gelais, 26, on a number of outstanding warrants, and took him to hospital for assessment.
While he was there, St. Gelais asked to use the washroom, then made a break for it — while still handcuffed.
After an all-too-brief period on the lam, he was re-arrested and taken into custody.
9. Mom’s Mercedes
A 26-year-old man faced a whopping fine — and probably the wrath of his mom — when he was busted travelling 142 km/h in an 80 zone on Highway 100.
The speedster, who was also driving without a valid licence, told police the Mercedes he was speeding in belonged to his mother.
He went home with over $1,100 in fines, a serious offence notice, and an appointment with Manitoba Public Insurance.
8. ‘Kidnapping’ victim tries to pull a fast one
Another speeder — this one caught driving 172 km/h in a 50 zone — tried to hoodwink cops by claiming to be the victim of a kidnapping, and that the ‘real’ driver had run off into the bush in the RM of Rockwood.
Officers quickly determined that wasn’t the case, and charged the man, 51, with impaired driving, dangerous driving, driving while disqualified, driving an unregistered vehicle and speeding.
7. Phony 911 caller finally busted
A Winnipeg man accused of making dozens of hoax calls to 911 — reporting fictitious emergencies — over a two-year period was finally picked up by police in August.
The phony calls, which led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in city expenses when emergency crews were dispatched to investigate, were the work of a 25-year-old man, police said.
Harley Harding was charged with public mischief and indecent communications.
6. Unruly passengers force plane to land in Winnipeg
A flight headed from London, England to Los Cabos, Mexico had to make an emergency stop in Winnipeg due to the drunken antics of a pair of U.K. passengers.
James Iontton, 25, and Natalie Louise Walker, 34, were on the flight when “unruly behaviour” occurred — which a fellow passenger told Global News involved the duo getting drunk and threatening passengers and staff.
Both were arrested by Winnipeg police as they got off the plane and slapped with jail time, as well as $100,000 in restitution after pleading guilty.
5. Trapped in the elevator
A group of teens thought they were escaping, but ended up requiring a rescue from Winnipeg police when they got stuck in an elevator at a downtown high-rise.
Police were called to the building after a report of vandalism, including an estimated $30,000 in destruction to its elevated viewing area.
Police said the teens — three 17-year-old boys and a 14-year-old, were stymied by a broken elevator, arrested, and charged with break and enter and mischief.
4. That’s not a taxi…
A 19-year-old man suspected of causing a disturbance in Portage la Prairie got a free ride to the police station after hopping in what he thought was a taxicab but was actually an undercover police car.
Police said the intoxicated suspect was fleeing the scene when he jumped into the back of the car and said, “Take me to 17th Street, bro.”
The man was eventually released without charges — but not before he sobered up in police custody.
3. Would-be car thieves foiled by standard transmission
A pair of suspects in a Winnipeg carjacking in the Polo Park area were stumped by a vehicle with standard transmission.
Police said the two men, who were apparently scouring the area on bikes, assaulted a driver and tried to steal his vehicle, but were thwarted when faced with a stick-shift.
In another carjacking incident that same week, a teenage girl was found stuck in a garbage can, where she attempted to hide after fleeing from police.
2. A naked getaway
A naked man made off with a Winnipeg ambulance before crashing it into the side of a local cultural centre in May.
Police said medical personnel were attempting to help the man — believed to be on meth — when he managed to get in the ambulance and drive off, smashing into the Portuguese Cultural Centre on Young Street in the process.
No one was injured in the incident, aside from the naked man himself.
1. Tunnel vision
A man fleeing from Portage la Prairie RCMP found himself needing the help of police after getting stuck in a tunnel during his escape attempt.
The 25-year-old suspect was accused of breaking into a Portage home and threatening the people inside, before making a run for it through a field.
Police caught up with him a short time later, when they saw the man’s legs sticking out of a sump pump pit.
After officers managed to remove him from the tunnel, he was charged with breaking and entering, uttering threats and resisting arrest. Police also charged him in connection with an earlier assault incident that day, in which they said he also ran from police.