“Santa’s helpers” arrest three suspected car thieves near Massey Tunnel

Alan Campbell - Richmond News

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This car was allegedly used by thieves as they tried to leave Richmond via the Massey Tunnel last week

Memo to suspected car thieves: When planning your escape, don’t try to exit Richmond via the Massey Tunnel during the morning rush hour.

For once, however, the daily gridlock heading south via the Massey Tunnel paid dividends.

Richmond RCMP were the main beneficiaries of the jam just north of the tube shortly before 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29.

About that time, Santa’s helpers from the Richmond RCMP, namely members of the Prolific Offender Suppression Team (POST), spotted a suspicious vehicle in a parking lot the 11600 block of Steveston Highway.

Officers confirmed the vehicle, a blue 2009 Chevrolet sedan, was previously reported stolen from Coquitlam. Police noticed three people inside the car, while additional Mounties from the Property Crime Unit (PCU) conducted surveillance of the vehicle and observed it heading southbound on Highway 99 towards the tunnel.

Needless to say, due to the morning rush hour, traffic congestion was high and the counterflow lane for northbound traffic was in effect.

At some point, before the suspects reached the tunnel, the driver allegedly performed a U-turn and collided with a cement barrier.

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All three occupants were quickly arrested without incident and taken to hospital. No other vehicles were involved.

The suspects – two males, aged 29 and 30, and one female, 41 – are from Coquitlam and known to police. Charges are pending.

Mounties recovered a replica firearm in a holster, identity documents related to a Coquitlam theft, as well as drug paraphernalia.

“Timing is very important but so is recognizing the subtleties of behaviour,” said Richmond RCMP’s Cpl. Dennis Hwang.

“…officers were quick to identify the stolen car and maximize public safety. Traffic congestion is generally disliked by all, but in this case, it lent us a helping hand.

“We are also thankful for the patience from other motorists who may have been affected by the three folks we arrested. It is believed that they may be now on Santa’s naughty list.”

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