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 suspect is connected to a string of criminal activity in the North Okanagan, Thompson-Nicola, Nicola Valley, and the Central Okanagan.
The suspect is believed to be in possession of a burgundy, Dodge Ram D-150 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, attended to the gas station. He encountered the suspect vehicle as it fled, police said, and observed multiple people inside as the truck collided with his cruiser when it sped away.
The suspect allegedly accelerated towards the responding officer, and sideswiped his fully marked police vehicle before fleeing the area eastbound, 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 suspect vehicle.
Kelowna RCMP encountered the vehicle as well, are were unsuccessful in their attempts to stop the vehicle, which was involved in yet another collision as the suspects made another daring escape.
Kelowna RCMP deployed a spike belt on the east end of the William R. Bennett Bridge in an effort to disable the suspect vehicle, said Cpl. O’Donaghey. The driver performed an evasive manoeuver, managed to avoid the tire deflation device and drove over the concrete meridian of the highway.
A second motorist’s vehicle was struck, as the suspect pulled a u-turn and proceeded 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 have mobilized and begun sharing information this week in their attempts to apprehend the suspects, and on Friday, they turned to the public, releasing 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 suspect 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 Cpl. O’Donaghey. “We continue to recommend the public immediately call their local police or 911 if necessary.”
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