REGINA — The RCMP is giving a shout-out to Briercrest residents who joined forces with them on Friday in an unusual takedown that involved three suspects being taken into custody in the bucket of a tractor.
The strange course of events began around 4:30 a.m. when Milestone RCMP were called about an abandoned grey truck in Briercrest that had been reported stolen from Rouleau.
A Briercrest resident noticed three individuals standing outside the Dodge Ram truck and then fleeing. Believing the truck was stolen, the resident removed the keys from the ignition, which left the three suspects with no way to get out of town.
The RCMP called in police dogs and officers from the Moose Jaw RCMP detachment and Regina traffic services to help locate the suspects. In the meantime, the community mobilized a phone tree to alert residents about the possibility that thieves were in their midst.
Residents assisted police by searching grid roads in their pickup trucks, using quads to check out wet and boggy areas and a local pilot took to the air to track the suspects.
“It felt like the whole community was trying to help locate these people,” said Sgt. Paul Dawson with the RCMP Milestone detachment.
“They didn’t put themselves at any risk. We were in close contact with them and any time there was a sighting, they would contact us and then we would follow up and try to locate them … It was a big area and they did have a bit of a head start considering the time. But they were on foot as well.”
Shortly after noon, a local resident reported seeing three people walking through a wet and muddy field. The area was too muddy for the police 4×4 to navigate so a local farmer took four RCMP officers through the field on his tractor.
A short time later, three suspects under the age of 18 were apprehended in the middle of a farmer’s field near Briercrest.
“I’ve seen tractors pull out vehicles from the ditch, but I’ve never seen three suspects being taken into custody in a bucket of a tractor,” Dawson said.
But, he said, it’s not unusual for communities to pull together and assist police.
“That’s very much small town, rural life in Canada,” Dawson said. “It’s one thing if you have four or five sets of eyes out there looking for criminal behaviour, but what you really need is the whole community out there looking and this is a really good example of that.”
The three teens were taken to police cells in Moose Jaw. They appeared in front of a Justice of the Peace on Saturday and were transferred to Regina where they will be held in custody until they appear in Youth Court on Monday.
According to RCMP, the youths are also suspected of stealing a white Subaru Forester in Regina, driving it to Rouleau and leaving it there.
The teens are facing a number of charges including theft, possession of stolen property and breach of probation.
Briercrest is about 55 kilometres southwest of Regina.
The RCMP is giving a shout-out to Briercrest residents who joined forces with them on Friday in an unusual takedown that involved three suspects being taken into custody in the bucket of a tractor.