Former Clearwater resident Maddy Beka, now living in Clinton, had a bit more excitement than she bargained for when she came home for a visit on the Canada Day weekend.
Her truck was stolen – with one of her dogs inside – while she was at the Subway in Little Fort.
Fortunately, her dog was returned unharmed. Her truck’s tires, however, were shredded when it ran over a police spike belt in Barriere and it sustained other damage as the thief tried to evade arrest.
According to Clearwater RCMP, the incident began the evening of June 29 when police responded to a person who appeared to be drunk. However, the man admitted to police that he was coming off of drugs.
After leaving the hospital the morning of June 30, he was given a ride to the bus station where he stole a vehicle and drove towards Kamloops. Along the way, he was involved in a collision and was arrested for stealing the car.
After being arrested and released with court documents (as per policy) he continued to make his way home to Abbotsford.
Meanwhile Beka, her boyfriend Rob Ryde and their two dogs, Cali and Dante, stopped in Little Fort to visit the Subway. It was about 4 p.m. on June 30. The dogs are particularly important to her because she uses them to connect with students needing assistance during her work in the school at Clinton, she said.
They left the dogs in their truck with the motor running to keep them cool.
The thief also was in Little Fort, where he tried to break into one vehicle and then stole their truck.
One dog, Dante, was let out of the truck, but the second, Cali, stayed in.
People she knew saw the theft and immediately called in a report with a description of the thief to police. Her boyfriend also called 911 immediately.
The thief was described as a short male with blond hair, tattoos and no shirt.
Barriere RCMP deployed a spike belt on Highway 5 that disabled the vehicle, but the driver continued through Barriere, losing pieces of the truck’s tires along the way.
The vehicle, a white Ford 4×4, then accelerated through the fence of the Mountain Springs Motel, where it came to rest on the lawn.
The male exited the vehicle and barricaded himself in a motel bathroom for 20 minutes until finally surrendering to police.
The male faces eight charges from the Barriere incident alone. As of last week he remained in custody until he could appear in Kamloops Provincial Court.
Beka said she was extremely grateful for the generous help she got from the staff at Little Fort Subway, as well as for the quick and appropriate response from the Clearwater and Barriere RCMP. Two Clearwater residents even followed the stolen truck into Barriere, not with the idea of chasing the suspect, but to find her dog if she was abandoned along the highway.
“It’s truly heartwarming to know there are such people out there,” she said.
As for her dog, Cali, he came away from his adventure without injury – in fact, she seemed to enjoy the time he spent with the RCMP and their dog.
“The children she works with on a daily basis would be heartbroken if I hadn’t gotten her back,” said Beka. “She is a much loved dog by many people!”