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Canada

Mounties release images of man suspected of side-swiping police cruiser during B.C. crime spree

Mounties in B.C.’s Southern Interior have released images of a man suspected of multiple crimes across the region in the past week.

Police believe the man is connected to a string of criminal activity in the North Okanagan, Thompson-Nicola, Nicola Valley, and the Central Okanagan.

The man is believed to be in possession of a burgundy, Dodge Ram pickup truck with stolen plates. Investigators have determined that its licence plate, KK2078, was taken from a vehicle in the Armstrong area.

On Nov. 4, the vehicle’s occupants attempted to use counterfeit currency at a gas station located along the Trans-Canada Highway in Kamloops, and on Nov. 6, the same vehicle was present at another attempted fraud at a gas station in the municipality of Merritt.

An officer with the Merritt RCMP, alerted to an attempt to pass counterfeit U.S. and Canadian currency, went to the gas station. He encountered the vehicle as it fled, police said, and observed several people inside as the truck collided with his cruiser when it sped away.

Police allege the driver accelerated towards the responding officer, before side-swiping his fully marked police vehicle and then heading eastbound. He was not pursued by police, said Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey.

That same evening, West Kelowna RCMP were alerted to a hit and run collision in the parking lot of a business along Boucherie Road involving the same vehicle.

Kelowna RCMP encountered the vehicle as well and were unsuccessful in their to stop the vehicle, which was involved in yet another collision before escaping again.

Kelowna RCMP used a spike belt on the east end of the William R. Bennett Bridge in an effort to disable the vehicle, said Cpl. O’Donaghey. The driver performed an evasive manoeuver, avoided the tire deflation device and drove over the concrete meridian of the highway.

A second motorist’s vehicle was struck, as the vehicle wanted by police did a U-turn and headed back across the bridge span towards West Kelowna.

The drivers involved in both hit-and-run collisions were unharmed, police said.

RCMP across the region are on the lookout for the man and have released images of a person of interest, captured by a video surveillance camera in the Merritt area. Police also released an image of the truck.

The man is described as a white male in his mid-20s to mid-30s, approximately 5’6″ tall with a medium build, brown hair and a chipped right upper tooth.

Anyone can identify the suspect or provide information about these crimes is asked to contact police.

“I’d like to remind the general public not to approach the suspect vehicle or any of its occupants if spotted in your community,” added O’Donaghey. “We continue to recommend the public immediately call their local police or 911 if necessary.”

hmooney@postmedia.com

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