Violence is not the answer, says Trail man who confronted two alleged thieves who were in the act of using his stolen banking cards.

Empathy, not ire when Trail man catches perp red-handed

“The kid needed a hug, not me getting physical,” Jeff Bruce said after tracking down alleged thief.

Jeff Bruce went from crime victim to crime sleuth to crime solver in just a few hours Monday morning.

And if that wasn’t enough, the West Trail father threw in a big dose of compassion for an alleged thief he had never met before that day.

His morning began in a usual way. Shortly after 8 a.m. Bruce hopped into the family car – which was parked on his property outside a two-car garage – to drive his kids to school.

That’s when he noticed the vehicle had been rummaged through and his expensive sunglasses, wallet, and his son’s wallet, were gone.

“Unfortunately my car was unlocked,” he told the Trail Times. “I was bringing in groceries (the day before) and I assumed I had locked it. And when I felt my jacket, I thought my wallet was in my pocket, but it was actually my cell phone.”

Within minutes, Bruce was on the phone with American Express to report his stolen credit card.

The company told him the card had already been used that morning at Glenmerry Husky. Notably, Bruce’s banking and credit cards have “tap” technology, meaning no pin is needed for purchases under $100.

So on his way to the Trail police detachment, Bruce stopped by the gas station to find out if the perpetrator – or perpetrators – were still hanging around. At this point, he didn’t know how many were involved.

“I figured what the heck, I may as well see if they are still there,” he recalled. “Or get a description from the fellows that work at Husky. The guy remembered (the suspect) had a white hoodie on and a back pack.”

After the police station, Bruce’s next stop was to report his stolen bank card to the credit union in downtown Trail.

When the doors opened at 9:30 a.m. sharp, in he went.

Bruce was immediately informed that his bank card had been used twice at Walmart that morning, and it had just been used at Waneta Plaza.

“So I drove out to the mall, I had that brief description from the guy at Husky,” he said. “When I got there and looked around, I noticed a guy with a back pack and another with a white hoodie on. And I confronted them.”

Bruce stressed that he did not know either of the two young men.

“They denied, denied, denied,” he said. “Then one guy took off and ran, and the other guy went the other way.”

One of the suspects soon gave up the chase. That’s when Bruce chose to slowdown and have a heart-to-heart with the young man, whom he says appeared to be strung-out.

“I said, you’re on video tape using my cards, so you are already going to be nailed with fraud,” Bruce recalled. “I said, ‘Save me some money and (give) my wallet back, and my son’s wallet back – and my sunglasses.”

The suspect denied stealing the pricey glasses, but when he opened the back pack, there they were.

“Then I said, ‘Look I’ll take you up there (to the police station) if you want to get help,” he recounted. “You are saying you want help, it might do you good to turn yourself in, and perhaps you can straighten yourself out.”

Bruce stressed that he didn’t know the suspect, but he did ask his name.

“I had no clue who they were,” he said.

“But once the kid said who he was, I felt bad for him because his dad passed away from an overdose a few years ago,” Bruce explained. “He said he needed rehab to straighten out his life, so I said I would take him to get help, because he was going down the same road.”

By 10 a.m. Bruce had escorted the suspect to the Trail detachment.

“Officer Zilkie was absolutely outstanding at the police station,” Bruce said. “And they were shocked, this was a first. Nothing like this had ever happened before.”

In the end, Bruce says the two spent over $1,000 using the cards and stole about $700 worth of items from the car, including his son’s Christmas money that was in one of the wallets.

After such a tumultuous day, Bruce had some advice to offer others caught in crimes of opportunity like he was.

First of all, he says to be proactive and shut down all credit and bank cards immediately.

“And violence is not the answer,” Bruce said. “The kid needed a hug, not me getting physical.”

The Trail and Greater District RCMP is looking into the second male involved in the incident, and both suspects will be investigated for the theft of wallets and fraudulent use of credit cards.

Related story here: Trail man nabs suspected thieves



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Santa stops by Trail Riverfront Centre

This is the first Christmas the Trail Riverfront Centre is open

Long wait time at downtown Trail lab

Letter to the Editor from Ken Schroeder of Warfield

Over $25,000 raised for Columbia Basin literacy

Success for 2018 Books for Kids campaign

West Kootenay highways a mess as heavy snowfall continues

‘Roads are very icy, people have to be patient and have to slow down’

Snowfall warning across the West Kootenay

A strong Pacific frontal system had Environment Canada issuing a snowfall advisory early Tuesday

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Famous giant tortoise DNA may hold fountain of youth: UCBO

After Lonesome George’s death he still provides clues to longer life

Oogie Boogie, Sandy Claws and coffin sleigh part of B.C. couple’s holiday display

Chilliwack couple decorates their house for the holidays using Nightmare Before Christmas theme

First Nation sues Alberta, says oilsands project threatens sacred site

Prosper Petroleum’s $440-million, 10,000-barrel-a-day plans have been vigorously opposed by Fort McKay

North Okanagan site of first RCMP naloxone test project

Free kits, training to be provided to high-risk individuals who spend time in cell blocks

1 arrested after bizarre incident at U.S.-B.C. border involving bags of meth, car crash

Man arrested after ruckus in Sumas and Abbotsford on Thursday night

More B.C. Indigenous students graduating high school: report

70% of Indigenous students graduated, compared to 86% across all B.C. students

2 facing animal cruelty charges after emaciated dog found in B.C.

Amy Hui-Yu Lin and Glenn Mislang have been charged with causing an animal to continue to be in distress

Most Read