Winnipeg police recovered one of their own cruisers after it was stolen by a suspect accused of stealing another vehicle.
At around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, police spotted a stolen vehicle and began pursuit. It was eventually tracked to the Flying J gas bar in Headingley with the help of Air 1.
During the incident, police say the situation escalated and one of their marked cruisers was stolen while officers were securing the safety of civilians.
Officers from both the RCMP and Winnipeg police arrested the suspect near the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 26.
Police spokesman Const. Rob Carver says the suspects tried to flee — one was caught and another somehow circled back, jumped into a police cruiser and took off.
Carver said it looks like an officer left the keys in his cruiser because he was concerned for the safety of the people being car-jacked.
“Having been a police officer for over 25 years, if I think somebody’s in danger over there and I jump out of my car, I don’t think the person over there whose life is at risk wants me to wait and make sure I stop the car and pull the keys out,” Carver told reporters Thursday.
“We’re less worried about the car than we are about making sure people are safe. We did that in this situation.”
Police say the ordeal caused a significant strain on police resources, meaning more than 300 calls for service are currently waiting for dispatch.
“If we’ve got 10 cruiser cars who were there, all those officers now have to make notes and write reports. The arrest has to be processed and the scene has to be secured.
The civilians involved in the car-jacking were not seriously hurt, he added.
— With files from The Canadian Press