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A plane, tractors and quads

Mounties are praising a Saskatchewan village for springing to action with quads, a tractor and even a small plane to hunt down a trio of young car-theft suspects who became stranded in the community.

RCMP Sgt. Paul Dawson says it's alleged the three suspects, who are all under 18, left Regina in a stolen Subaru early Friday, abandoned it in the community of Roleau, and then stole a truck.

He says they made their way to nearby Briercrest, but a resident who spotted them suspected the truck was stolen and took action.

Dawson says when the suspects left the truck parked for a few moments, the resident swiftly opened the door and grabbed the keys.

The resident called police, and the village activated an emergency telephone call-out system to warn everyone to keep an eye out for the suspects.

Eight hours later, after being chased on foot through wet fields and bogs by officers, police dogs and residents, two 16-year-olds and one 17-year-old from Regina were arrested and will face various charges.

"To be honest, I think the suspects were kind of relieved that they were captured," Dawson said. "It wasn't just a case of the police looking for these people, it was the entire community."

Dawson said that when the resident pulled the keys from the truck, it essentially disabled the vehicle. And since the resident had seen the suspects, everyone had a description of who to search for.

Residents jumped in their pickups and fanned out on grid roads. Others canvassed the wet and boggy areas with quads, an all terrain vehicle.

One resident, a local pilot, took to the air to conduct a grid search.

More officers from neighbouring communities, including some with tracking dogs, were called in to help.

Hours into the search, a resident reported seeing three people walking through a wet and muddy field. It was so muddy, police said, that not even a four-wheel-drive could cross it.

A farmer offered his tractor, and RCMP rode in a bucket on the front and chased the suspects down.

Dawson said the residents were careful, calling police each time they spotted the suspects rather than chasing them themselves.

He said the fleeing suspects had nowhere to hide from the local searchers.

"It's kind of the perfect storm. They're well organized. They have all kinds of machinery and resources at their disposal and they know the area better than the police, and obviously better than these three people," Dawson said.

"Coupled with that, you have Prairie landscape, which is very flat. It's difficult to hide when you have those type of elements working against you."

The suspects were taken to police holding cells in Moose Jaw. Police said they would face charges including theft, possession of stolen property, and breach of probation.

The Canadian Press

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