A 27-year-old Calgary man is facing multiple charges in connection with the theft of a vehicle that had a five-month-old baby in it in Strathmore, Alta., over the weekend.
In a news release issued on Tuesday, the RCMP said the theft occurred shortly before 10:30 p.m. on Saturday near a Strathmore hotel when the people originally driving it “stopped for a break and were beside the vehicle.”
They said one of the victims of the theft then flagged down another vehicle which began to follow the stolen vehicle and called 911 to report the theft. The RCMP said police officers were able to close in on the stolen vehicle while the Calgary Police Service’s helicopter monitored the situation from the sky.
“The vehicle travelled through rural roads at high rates of speed before entering onto Highway 1 westbound reaching speeds over 160 km/h,” the RCMP alleged. “The vehicle was followed by police until it reached the overpass on Highway 1 and Highway 9 where it stopped in the inside (or) fast lane.”
Police said at that point, the driver “removed the child from the vehicle as responding members positioned behind him,” adding the child was placed on the side of the road before the vehicle sped away while the driver allegedly ignored police commands.
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“One of the responding Strathmore members rushed in and swept the infant up from the highway,” the RCMP said, adding the infant was reunited with the mother that night.
The CPS helicopter continued to follow the stolen vehicle as it travelled along Highway 1 onto rural roads near Chestermere.
“(The driver) reached a gate at a new development and got stuck while he tried to drive around it to avoid police,” the RCMP said. “(The driver) fled on foot but remained visible… (to the CPS helicopter).”
RCMP officers on the ground arrested a suspect.
Mounties said they normally advise against people following a stolen vehicle “as it creates a high-risk situation where everyone involved could be seriously injured or worse,” however, noted the theft was a unique situation in which an innocent child’s safety and well-being were at risk.
“I would like to thank our community member who stopped to provide assistance and helped to relay valuable information to our responding members,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Wielgosz, the Strathmore RCMP detachment commander. “This is a strong example of a close community looking out for each other.
“I am thankful we were able to reunite the child with their family and that nobody was hurt.”
Wielgosz added that the RCMP is grateful for its close working relationship with law enforcement officers in other jurisdictions which in this situation helped to bring about a co-ordinated response, which he said “was a major factor in bringing about a safe end to this incident.”
Tejinder Brar has been charged with abduction of a child under 14, theft of a motor vehicle, flight from police, dangerous driving and failing to comply with conditions of release.