Pepper spray comes out as police grapple with suspected car thief

Police used pepper spray as a tense scene played out in the West Flat Thursday during a stolen vehicle investigation.

The Prince Albert Police Service reported that an officer was out on routine patrol when they spotted a “suspicious vehicle” outside a West Flat residence. The residence, police say, is “known to be frequented by criminally active individuals.”

The officer determined that the vehicle was reported stolen and approached. At that moment, a man and a woman exited the vehicle and tried to escape into the residence.

The officer issued verbal commands, but the suspects ignored them. According to police, the officer saw the man behave in a way “consistent with intent to resist police” and noticed that he appeared to be concealing “something that the officer believed to be an unknown weapon.”

At that point, the officer tried to arrest the man. But he resisted. Again, during the altercation, the officer allegedly saw the man reach toward his waist “for what the officer suspected was a weapon.”

By that time, other officers arrived. They used OC spray, more commonly known as pepper spray, and “defence and control techniques” to gain control of the man. The man sustained minor injuries and was treated by paramedics.

According to a police press release, the officers intuitions appear to have been correct. Police report that a knife had fallen during the altercation.

“The situation could have concluded far worse for both the officers and the suspect involved, due to the high standard of professionalism and training displayed by officers the situation was resolved,” the police press release read.

Police arrested both fleeing suspects, as well as two other occupants of the vehicle. Inside it, they found two firearms, a knife, a BB handgun, and ammunition for the weapons.

The suspects, with ages between 19 and 29, were charged with numerous firearms offences and possession of a stolen vehicle. They are due to appear in Saskatchewan Provincial Court in Prince Albert Friday.