A skid loader, skid-steer loader or skidsteer is a small, rigid-frame, engine-powered machine with lift arms used to attach a wide variety of labor-saving tools or attachments. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

B.C. men arrested after theft of heavy equipment leads to highway blockade

One man surrendered to police while the other was taken into custody the next morning, RCMP say

Two men from Williams Lake and Quesnel were arrested by RCMP this week after the theft of a piece of heavy machinery led to a police chase in northern B.C.

The chaotic incident began on Feb. 12, after Mounties in Hudson’s Hope received a report of a white Ford one-tonne truck travelling southbound on Highway 29 while towing a stolen yellow skid steer on a black flat deck trailer.

The piece of heave equipment was reported missing from Fort Nelson the night prior, police said.

Using a citizens band, or CB, radio channel the person who phoned in the report to Mounties asked commercial water tanker drivers in the area to create an improvised block across the highway at Farrell Creek Road.

Investigators believe the Ford truck attemped to get around the blockade by driving through the ditch, but became stuck.

“It was at this point that the two male occupants exited the pickup truck, brandished a rifle at the bystanders and eventually fled on foot into the woods,” Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey said.

The highway was closed for several hours as frontline officers from Fort St. John and Chetwynd assisted the local RCMP in searching for the two suspects.

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Shortly after 10 p.m., one of the two suspects, a 36-year-old Quesnel man allegedly surrendered to police and was held in custody overnight. The second suspect, a 42-year-old man from Williams Lake was taken into police custody the next morning, Feb. 13, after spending “several hours exposed to the elements.”

Both men face a number of potential property, firearms and drug related charges.

“We’d like to thank all those who were impacted by this closure for their patience and understanding,” O’Donaghey said.


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ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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