(PHOTO: Michael Sinclair and Jacob, his 8-year-old German Shepherd, sniffing out crime in their neighbourhood.)
Two people have been arrested in connection to a series of thefts from vehicles in Fairwinds, thanks to the quick thinking of a dog walker.
Michael Sinclair was walking his German shepherd around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday on Par La Ville Circle when he saw two people, a man and a woman, acting suspiciously. He spotted them going up and down driveways and trying doors on cars.
“I kinda could tell what they were up to,” he said. He followed them for a bit and decided to confront them. “I yelled at them ‘hey what are you doing?’ and they just ran.”
He wasn’t sure if it was a 911 emergency, so he tried calling the community police centre on Huntmar Drive, less than 600 metres away. After getting an answering machine, he called 911.
Police arrived in a matter of minutes. By then, the two people Sinclair saw were gone. He met an officer in a parked cruiser at the corner of Maple Grove Road and Leveche Way, where he was told several officers were already out looking for the suspects.
Then the strangest thing happened.
“It was really funny and these two people come walking down the street,” said Sinclair. He knew right away it had to be the same people because one of them was carrying a Goodlife gym bag. He pointed them out and the officer went over to talk to them.
“The guy took off, he just started running,” Sinclair said. “Within 30 seconds there were three or four [police] cars.”
Police gave chase and returned about 20 minutes later. One officer told Sinclair the two people were arrested.
Sinclair told StittsvilleCentral.ca that he saw one of the officers open the gym bag, revealing a crowbar and an assortment of other items.
“I could kinda see, but there was definitely stuff in there, I think he said there was some cash.”
Police tried knocking on doors of nearby houses, but Sinclair said nobody answered the door.
“I am just glad they caught these people,” Sinclair said. “Hopefully it stops.”
Ottawa police spokesperson Const. Marc Soucy confirmed two people were arrested in connection to Wednesday’s incident. As of Dec. 8, there were no charges laid and the investigation continued.
(Last weekend, neighbours reported that a teenager was also arrested in relation to recent thefts in the area, but police could not confirm if an arrest had been made.)
According to a briefing posted to Facebook by Chadley Wagar, the coordinator of the nearby Tempest Park Neighbourhood Watch, there were 24 thefts from vehicles in Stittsville reported to police between September and October. Wagar said 21 of the thefts were in the Fairwinds neighbourhood.
Wagar said charges were laid in some cases, but the numbers don’t include Wednesday’s incident or others in recent weeks.
To prevent theft, Ottawa Police recommend you lock your car and remove all valuables if you park outside.