Four people are in custody after a crime spree at Cowichan Lake led to a chase in the bush.
Sheldon Johanson, 28, Cory Waskul, 38, Jasmine Angus, 37 and Corinne Gough, 19 are facing various charges and the investigation is continuing. All four are from the Port Alberni and Nanaimo areas.
Lake Cowichan RCMP were called out on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at about 5:30 a.m. because a vehicle had rolled over into a creek in a remote forestry area west of Lake Cowichan.
One female was reportedly ejected and three other people were still in the vehicle.
While Mounties were en route, they learned “the vehicle had been reported stolen out of Duncan and the four people were likely engaged in property-related offences,” according to a police report.
RCMP Police Dog Services and additional resources were called to assist.
“On arrival it was confirmed that the truck was stolen out of Duncan, additionally, it was attached to a travel trailer confirmed to be stolen out of the Lake Cowichan area. Witnesses observed the suspects start pushing a second truck that appeared to have broken down and then lit it on fire and fled into the bush on foot, returning briefly to retrieve items out of the vehicle,” police say.
An empty gun case was located and the suspects were believed to be armed, therefore, the RCMP Emergency Response Team was deployed.
RCMP Police Dog Services started tracking and located a man and woman approximately 150 metres into the bush. A second woman was located a short distance away and the fourth person, a man, was located by a second Police Dog Service team and Emergency Response Team members approximately six kilometres away.
One woman and one man were taken to hospital with injuries from the motor vehicle incident. The man also had a dog bite.
Sgt. Stu Foster, Lake Cowichan detachment commander, praised the way folks on site helped out.
“Local logging personnel and BRI Security provided exceptional assistance throughout this investigation. Incidents such as this have a large impact on their operations, and without hesitation many persons jumped into action to assist. From rendering assistance at the crash site, providing directions for emergency personnel, freeing up heavy machinery to clear the roadway to assisting with traffic control. This community effort assisted a great deal in the investigation,” he said.
“The assistance rendered and teamwork displayed from Police Dog Services, Emergency Response Team, Island District GIS, Duncan detachment, Ident and Lake Cowichan members was instrumental to the safe and successful resolving of this matter. A total of four persons were apprehended, charged and before the courts on a multitude of charges.”
Residents, particularly along South Shore Road and in the Caycuse area, are being encouraged to check their properties and report any thefts to the police.