This white car was found burning under the Agassiz-Rosedale bridge

This white car was found burning under the Agassiz-Rosedale bridge

Crime spree nets suspect … and an alligator

A Popkum resident has been charged in connection with a day-long crime spree earlier this month that had police in Agassiz and Chilliwack following a trail that included one woman's emergency 911 call, one vehicle burning under the Agassiz/Rosedale bridge, one dust-up with a Chilliwack car dealer, one startled shopper in the Chilliwack Safeway parking lot - and one alligator.

A Popkum resident has been charged in connection with a day-long crime spree earlier this month that had police in Agassiz and Chilliwack following a trail that included one woman’s emergency 911 call, one vehicle burning under the Agassiz/Rosedale bridge, one dust-up with a Chilliwack car dealer, one startled shopper in the Chilliwack Safeway parking lot – and one alligator.

“They knew it was the same person linking them all,” RCMP Const. Tracy Wolbeck said, about the trail of crimes police were tracking.

But the challenge was assessing all the information coming rapid-fire into two RCMP jurisdictions, and catching the suspect before his next crime.

The spree began at about 5 a.m. on Feb. 11 when police responded to a 911 call from a woman on Bernston Road in Popkum.

“While Agassiz police were clearing the residence, they discovered a small (marijuana) grow-op in the basement and an “exotic pet” that was later caught by animal control officers.

Wolbeck could not disclose the nature of the 911 call. The “exotic pet” was an alligator.

About 45 minutes later, at 5:45 a.m. police responded to a robbery at the Tempo gas station on Hocking Avenue in Chilliwack where a male had taken off on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.

At 11:52 a.m. a man entered the Valu Auto Sales Sales on Young Road asked to test drive a vehicle.

When the salesman refused, the suspect grabbed the keys and took off in the vehicle, which was later found burning under the Agassiz/Rosedale bridge.

But it appears the suspect had earlier tried to switch vehicles, trying to steal a pickup truck in the Chilliwack Safeway parking lot on Young Road at about 1:04 p.m.

“As the owner of the truck approached the vehicle, she saw a man sitting in the vehicle,” Wolbeck said.

But after a “small altercation” with the woman, the man fled in the vehicle stolen from the dealership.

Finally, at 2:30 p.m., Agassiz RCMP responded to a theft of vehicle complaint at Hwy 9 and Yale Road East. The stolen vehicle was found on Popkum Road.

“A short distance away police found Bradley Vangeel walking and noticed he fit the description of several other crimes which took place earlier in the day in Popkum and Chilliwack, Wolbeck said.

He is also the occupant of the house where the woman’s 911 call was made, and where the grow-op and alligator were discovered.

Vangeel, 27, is charged with robbery, theft over $5,000 and possession of stolen property. Further charges are pending.

Wolbeck said the spree was brought to a “peaceful end” with the collaborative work of police officers in the RCMP’s crime reduction unit, serious crimes unit, forensic identification unity, and general duty officers from Agassiz and Chilliwack.

“There were complicated files, and thankfully (it) was brought to a peaceful end before anyone was seriously hurt,” she said.

Police are looking for two witnesses who may have important information about some of the events that day, a man named “Dave” who saw the suspect on Hwy 9 between the Agassiz/Rosedale bridge and the roundabout at about 2:15 p.m., and another witness who was in the gas station at the time of the robbery.

Anyone else with information is asked to call the Chilliwack RCMP at 604-792-4611 or the Agassiz RCMP at 604-796-2211. Tips can also be called in to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.

 

Just Posted

(Adam Louis/Observer)
PHOTOS: Students leap into action in track events at Kent Elementary

At Kent Elementary, when the sun’s outside, the fun’s outside. The intermediate… Continue reading

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

One person was transported to hospital with minor injuries following a two-vehicle crash on Hot Springs Road June 10. (Adam Louis/Observer)
One hurt following two-vehicle crash on Hot Springs Road

Agassiz Fire Department, B.C. Ambulance Service attended with RCMP

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read