Unexpected Allies

The criminal mind is an interesting study and at the beginning of my career a senior office told me that to catch a criminal you had to think like one.  This statement holds good value and has assisted many an officer in making many an arrest.  Every now and then, a suspected criminal shows such tenacity in avoiding arrest that you have to wonder how successful the person might have been had they put the same effort into legal employment and upstanding citizenship, and when high profile cases garner increased attention there is usually an outpouring of public support when the outcome is favourable.  Dangerous suspect in custody = job well done.

Then there are the ‘suspected criminals’ the public never read about.  These suspects, too, can make every effort to avoid arrest.  Like last week…

One man led police on a bicycle/foot chase that could have been scripted and optioned for a movie.  It started with a bicycle officer chasing after a wanted party who also happened to be on a bike.  The bike officer did a great job of broadcasting and riding, and when talking to him later he said the suspect had excellent manoeuvring skills which made it a challenge to keep up.  Think about it – the suspect could give 100% to getting away while the bike cop had to split his ability between cycling and keeping the rest of us up to date on his location, which meant taking one hand off the handlebars so he could broadcast on his radio.  All this while jumping curbs, going around trees and avoiding obstacles.

A motorcycle officer joined in and when the two officers almost had the suspect hemmed in, the man ditched his bike and ran for it.  His brief foot journey took him through a crowd of people and out onto the seawall.  The route he chose is normally open, but on this day he rounded a corner to find it was closed for repair/construction.  Damn, eh?

But this guy was so determined to get away that he didn’t even hesitate to show off his stunt-man skills by launching himself over the railing and dropping down to a floating construction barge.  The officers right behind him were stalled at the drop because they chose to climb down the ladder instead of risking a broken ankle from jumping the 15 ft+ descent.

By then there were about a dozen officers in the area and it appeared the suspect might make good his escape by stealing the row boat attached to the barge (in truth, he wouldn’t have gotten far as our Marine Unit is very skilled at apprehending stolen row boats) and he was madly rowing into open water when police got assistance from an unexpected ally.  From across the barge came a huge construction worker in a bright orange jumpsuit.  We found out later the construction worker did not see the officers because he was focused on the suspect stealing his boat, and he was a florescent streak as he sprinted to the edge of the barge and dove through the air to land in the boat. It was quite impressive because that big guy could really boogie.  The force of his landing rocked the boat but it stayed afloat and he was able to pin the suspect down.

Then there was a new problem – the construction worker had the suspect pinned and was using one hand to try and row back to the barge but if you have ever tried to row a boat with one oar you know how futile an exercise it can be, let alone how dizzy you can get from going in tight little circles. The boat was too far out for a rope toss to be of any help and it appeared the suspect was squirming around which added to the danger of the boat capsizing.  It was one of those, “What do we do now?” kind of moments.

The answer was not what we could do, but what another citizen chose to do that ended this fleeing-felon episode on a positive note.  The operator of another small boat saw what was happening and turned his craft towards the rowboat.  With several gentle nudges, the operator was able to bump and steer the rowboat back to the barge, where the suspect was officially taken into custody.

Now that, my friends, is called team work.

Tags: , , ,

7 Responses to "Unexpected Allies"

  • AF says:
  • DC says:
  • Nick says:
  • Mark says:
  • Steve says:
  • Sandra says:
  • Ian says: