Not once but twice a suspected automobile thief smashed into police cars on Saturday night, leaving a few cruisers damaged, a stolen van flipped on its side, a Mountie under investigation for discharging his gun, and a 30-year-old Surrey man in lockup until Wednesday facing a myriad of charges for a crime spree that started in Langley earlier that same night.
It was like a version of demolition derby meets the wild west near Maple Ridge's Harry Hooge Elementary just before midnight, when a suspected car thief bounced two stolen vans off two different police cruisers over the course of just a few minutes, leading to gunfire and an arrest.
But the apparent crime spree actually started in Langley about 10 to 15 minutes earlier, when a woman was gassing up her car in the 8600 block of 200th Street.
When the women exited her vehicle, a man jumped into the driver's seat and attempted to steal the car.
The woman's adult daughter, who was in the passenger's seat, attempted to fight him off and was quickly joined by her mom, said Langley Cpl. Holly Marks.
While the mother and daughter successfully foiling the car theft, the bandit did manage to grab the driver's purse and flee, Marks elaborated.
The mother gave chase, and grabbed hold and was dragged along for a short distance by the man as he fled in a stolen van. Paramedics treated her on scene for minor injuries.
With the man reportedly fleeing north, Langley Mounties alerted Ridge Meadows RCMP that their suspect could be coming across Golden Ears Bridge.
Local police spot the stolen van a short time later travelling along Eagle Avenue in Maple Ridge, explained Ridge Meadows RCMP's top cop Supt. Dave Walsh.
An officer in an unmarked police car was following the stolen van onto Cherrywood Drive, without lights and siren, when the suspect threw the van into reverse and smashed into the police car.
"What I can tell you is at no time were police involved in a pursuit," Walsh said.
The suspect then drove towards the end of the cul-de-sac, where he abandoned the first van and jumped in another van that turned out to also be stolen.
As the suspect was trying to escape, the officer from the first police cruise drew his gun and opened fire, discharging multiple shots.
The suspect was not hit, but he did crash the second stolen vehicle into another unmarked police cruiser, flipping the van on its side, Walsh explained. And the suspect was quickly taken into custody.
"During the incident a police officer discharged his service pistol. The suspect was not injured due to the discharge of the police firearm, but did sustain minor injuries in the crashes. He was treated in hospital, and is now in police custody," Walsh said Sunday morning. The suspect has been remanded until his court appearance Wednesday.
The suspect appeared before a justice of the peace Sunday night, and has been remanded in custody until Wednesday.
Police are recommending three counts of possession of stolen property, assault with a weapon, assaulting a peace officer with a weapon, and robbery.
The man was also in violation of a conditional sentence order, as well as having an outstanding arrest warrant.
"Suffice to say, police have taken a dangerous person off the street," said Ridge Insp. Dave Fleugel.
Investigators are liaising with other RCMP detachments and municipal police agencies, and are aware of other similar occurrences in different locations of the Lower Mainland that this suspect may have been involved in, Fleugel added.
This case is being investigated by members of both Ridge Meadows and Coquitlam RCMP serious crimes units, and the Independent Investigations Office has been appraised and a separate investigation is expected into the officers discharging of his weapon.