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RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Police are looking for one man after a crime spree that stretched from Deep Bay to Youbou over the span of six days.

It all started with the theft of a vehicle in Deep Bay around 6 p.m. on Friday, June 11. Oceanside RCMP were alerted to the theft of a tan Chevy Silverado pickup with a headrack from the 300-block of Crome Point Road the following day.

Just before 8 p.m. on the same day they heard about the truck theft, the same RCMP detachment received a report of a break-and-enter at a paint store in Qualicum Beach. The exterior fence had been cut, but the culprit failed to gain entry to the business. The vehicle seen leaving the scene matched the description of the stolen truck.

The trail went cold until Tuesday, June 15 when, just after 11 a.m., the Ladysmith RCMP were contacted about a hit-and-run at a local hardware store. A truck, again matching the description of the one swiped from Deep Bay, had struck and damaged two vehicles outside of the store.

Later that day, the North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP received a report of a theft from a vehicle in Chemainus. Among the items taken from the vehicle, which had been parked in a lot in the 2800-block of Mill Street, was a credit card, which the thief then used at a gas station in Chemainus.

On Wednesday, June 16, the truck was spotted at an auto centre on Youbou Road by a Lake Cowichan RCMP officer, who grew suspicious when he noticed that the licence plate was partially obstructed with spray paint. When the officer established that the truck was stolen, he entered the passenger side to arrest the driver, but the driver escaped through his own door and ran off. Although a police dog managed to track the driver into the forested area across the road from the auto centre, he wasn’t located.

Sahtlam residents have reported several break-and-enters in their area during the time span, but police have not said if they suspect the same man of those crimes.

The suspect is described as a white man with a thin build, about 5-foot-8, with short hair. When last seen, he was wearing a green Element t-shirt, camouflage shorts, black socks and white running shoes, a grey and black Hockey Canada baseball hat, a bandanna over his face, and aviator sunglasses.

Anyone with information about the crimes or who can help identify the suspect should contact the Oceanside RCMP at 250-248-6111.

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