Between Jan. 27 and Feb. 3, Ponoka RCMP members were called upon to do many things in the service of their community. In one case they were needed to identify and arrest a knife wielding madman and in another instance they were required to help deliver a baby in the backseat of a smashed car during a snowstorm one glacially, cold night. Well those last two items didn’t really pan out like that … but our intentions were good. Nonetheless, 18 misguided souls rubbed their sore parts, nursed their hangovers or otherwise lamented over their bad decision making skills while languishing in detachment cells this week.
Late one evening, Ponoka members followed a car that had caught their attention and discovered, upon running the plate, that the car was stolen. A moment later, other members arrived and a high-risk takedown was initiated. Two males and two females were arrested and charged with having possession of the misbegotten motor carriage. Other charges were laid against the assembled individual occupants of the car. These ‘bonus’ charges related to various bits of other stolen property they had in their pockets, possession of concealed and dangerous weapons and for breaches of an assortment of probation conditions (that were evidently not being strictly adhered to under the circumstances). The driver was also (or alternatively) charged with the initial theft of that vehicle. (Note: stealing a car is treated more severely than simply driving one, which just happens to be ‘stolen’). He was not, however, charged with kidnapping … though, not for a lack of opportunity.
The investigation revealed that the driver bears a Xerox-like resemblance to the suspect who had stolen the vehicle in Wetaskiwin several hours earlier. That man had spotted an unlocked, parked vehicle, left running outside of a drug store. To his credit, it was only the car he wanted. This was distinguished by the fact that he did not also take the seven-year-old girl (left alone in that unlocked, running vehicle) with him. Instead, he opened the car door for her and told the child that her mom wanted her to go into the store. One would have to assume that the exasperation experienced by ‘Mom’ as she watched her car drive away was tempered by a fair degree of relief, given that her daughter wasn’t still within it. Hmmm? There is a valuable lesson in there somewhere.
Let me tell you about my last overtime claim. I was working late one night (on last week’s blotter as it happens). My shift had ended about an hour earlier. One night shift member had gone ‘off duty’ and was heading out of town. The other member was at home suffering the consequences of eating a tuna salad sandwich that was evidently yonder of its ‘best before’ date. The relative tranquility of that shift was interrupted by a 911 call originating with On Star. They reported that one of their subscribers had “driven into the ditch on a rural back road and (here’s the really big part) was going into labour. On Star was not able to provide an exact location for this (due to some atmospheric anomaly messing with their GPS capabilities) and could only give an approximate location and some really bad driving directions from the expectant (or rather imminently expectant) mother.
The search grid encompassed an area, which included the jurisdictions of Ponoka, Hobbema and Wetaskiwin and so about 15 members and three ambulance crews were deployed to the search. I fired up our detachment’s 4×4 and gave it an opportunity to warm up (minus 40 degrees Celsius at the time). I used that time to run around the office to find some things that, I knew, were not in the first aid kit, like boiled water, towels or an obstetrician. In the end, some Hobbema members located the vehicle and the female. The vehicle was not in a ditch; it was in a driveway. The woman wasn’t nine months pregnant; more like nine Molson’s plastered. In the end, she (and three of her drunken pals who participated in the little prank) were arrested for public mischief and I got paid three hours at double time for my troubles. So far, On Star has not sent her a contract to use her story in an upcoming ad campaign.
A fight broke out between two men in front of a local liquor store. One man pulled a big “Rambo” styled knife from his waistband and began to slash at the other man, cutting him once on the hand. A liquor store employee rushed out of the store to break up the fight and give assistance to the injured man. It is likely that he did not anticipate that the assistance that he would be rendering would be that of a human shield. The much larger, injured man picked up the inversely proportionate Samaritan and held him out, much as a lion tamer would wield a chair and chased the attacker away. Oddly, the victim (who knows his attacker) and the Samaritan (who could be very helpful as a witness) are not co-operating with police. Because of this and because of the relatively slim probability that the attacker will turn himself in …
If you witnessed this incident or you have information about an unsolved crime or ongoing criminal enterprise, call the Ponoka RCMP at 783-4472. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or now leave tips anonymously on-line at www.tipsubmit.com.