-Revelstoke resident Ryan Hall, 30, facing charges after bait truck and sled stolen, sled unloaded on local property.
-Another man evaded police when he fled on foot after the bait truck was immobilized by police. RCMP are looking for Vincent Matthew Porteous, 29, who is wanted on a warrant. Police warn he is considered violent and dangerous and “should not be approached.”
-Truck stolen on Trans-Canada west of Revelstoke and immobilized by police in the Big Eddy.
-Police have recovered more “snowmobiles of interest” after executing a warrant to recover the stolen sled.
Revelstoke RCMP have one man in custody and are seeking another on a warrant after a bait truck and sled was stolen in the early morning hours of March 27 just west of Revelstoke on the Trans-Canada Highway.
The bait truck and snowmobile — just like the bait car program — uses a vehicle equipped with GPS trackers, a remote immobilizing system, video cameras and a notification system to let police know when the truck has been moved.
Police got a bite at 3:45 a.m. on Mar. 27 when the truck signalled it was on the move from its location near the Peaks Lodge on the Trans-Canada.
Police say the truck stopped in a nearby residential area where the sled was unloaded from the truck.
When RCMP arrived on the scene, the staked out the general area indicated by the GPS tracker. That’s when they noticed two men getting into the truck and drive into Revelstoke’s Big Eddy neighbourhood.
Police immobilized the truck remotely in the 2100 block of Big Eddy Road, and the two men jumped out of the truck and fled on foot.
Police used video footage from the vehicle to identify the men.
They have arrested Ryan Hall, 30 of Revelstoke. He has since been released and is expected to appear in court at a date not yet specified, but likely in the next few months.
They have issued an arrest warrant for 29-year-old Vincent Porteous who is listed as a Peachland resident. He is described at a Caucasion male, 5’ 11”, 140 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair with tattoos on his right arm. Police say Porteous is violent and dangerous and should not be approached.
Hall and Vincent Porteus are both charged with two counts of theft of a motor vehicle over $5,000 and two counts of possession of stolen property over $5,000 and obstructing a police officer. In addition, Porteus is also wanted for mischief to property, flight from police and driving while suspended.
Grabinsky said they have video evidence from the cab of the stolen truck that they will be using to prosecute the two men. “That’s going to be the type of evidence we are taking to court,” he said, adding that police will release the video once court proceedings have ended.
Police also got a warrant to search a snowmobile trailer where they say they found the bait snowmobile and “additional snowmobiles of interest to police.”
In an interview, Revelstoke RCMP Staff-Sgt. Kurt Grabinsky said police are still investigating three other snowmobiles found in the trailer.
“Most of the [vehicle identification numbers] have been removed on them and we are trying to track down the licensed owners,” he said.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Police announced the bait sleds have been deployed in the Revelstoke area in 2014, although they have never disclosed many operational details about the program, other than a general announcement that it was in place.
Grabinsky said it was the first time the bait truck and sled had caught thieves in the act in Revelstoke. This season, the truck and sled combo had been deployed this season since November in Revelstoke, Sicamous and Salmon Arm.
Grabinsky said police will continue with the bait sled program and will likely change up the vehicle next season.
Snowmobile thefts are down dramatically in Revelstoke. They were at a high of 17 stolen snowmobiles in the 2013/2014 season. In 2014/2015, 12 were stolen. So far in 2015/2016 only two have been stolen.
“We are be thrilled to be down to two this year and want to see it be zero,” Grabinsky said.
Grabinsky said the bait sled program is one of several enforcement measures in place since sled thefts soared three years ago. Police conduct evening patrols, stopping vehicles with sleds driving at unusual hours, such as in the early morning. They conduct parking lot patrols and interact with the snowmobile community to promote security measures like immobilizers, steering wheel locks, wheel locks and other devices. Grabinsky said that has resulted in snowmobilers taking more proactive security steps.
Police are asking for additional tips on the case and encourage anyone with information to contact the Revelstoke RCMP at 250-837-5255 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or visit their website at www.revelstokecrimestoppers.ca.
The Revelstoke Mountaineer is following up on this initial report.