Another worthless ring scam

It is a scam that is becoming increasingly popular around the province, which is why RCMP are again warning the public. 

Kamloops RCMP is advising Kamloops citizens of another jewelry scam.

It has been reported that two males of South Asian descent are approaching people in public and offering to sell an ‘18K’ gold ring for $60. 

However, once the buyers take the ring to be appraised, it is found that the ring is worthless.

"It is not advisable to buy jewelry from someone on the street," states Cpl. Jodi Shelkie. "Look for jewelry at a retail store. If you do decide to buy privately, have the jewelry assessed for value by a professional before
paying for it."

A similar scam was reported to Castanet in May. 

In that instance, a well-dressed couple in a white SUV approached a Vernon man and offered to sell him a ring for $800. Eventually, the Vernon man bought the ring for $100. He later had the ring appraised and found out it was worthless.

The rings in both instances are exactly the same. 

Kamloops RCMP asks that if you see two males selling rings on the street, to call the RCMP and/or get a licence plate number of their vehicle. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222- 8477.


Evac orders near Coquihalla

A wildfire burning southwest of Merritt has prompted evacuation orders to be issued.

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District has evacuated 25 properties near Murray Lake, about 50 kilometres south of Merritt, due to the nearby Juliet Creek wildfire.

The fire, which began Wednesday due to lightning, was last estimated to be 600 hectares in size late Saturday morning.

The estimated size is expected to increase today, as the BC Wildfire Service said the fire "will appear to grow significantly once a more accurate perimeter has been mapped."

The TNRD described the fire as "rapidly moving" and to be threatening properties. The evacuation perimeter borders a section of the Coquihalla Highway, just north of Coldwater River Provincial Park.

Those evacuating from the area are asked to check into Emergency Social Services reception centre in Merritt, located at 1720 Coldwater Avenue.

Vehicle knocks power out

More than 1,600 BC Hydro customers are without power in Kamloops due to a vehicle accident late Thursday morning. 

Police say that a vehicle drove into a power pole near Rayleigh on Highway 5. The impact caused power lines to break and drop to the ground.

Currently, one southbound lane on Highway 5 near Rayleigh is closed while BC Hydro workers complete repairs.

It is unknown how long this lane will be closed.

Minor injuries were reported from the vehicle impact.


Body found between parks

The body of a woman in her sixties was discovered between Riverside Park and Pioneer Park in Kamloops Thursday morning.

Police aren't providing much in the way of details but did state that "criminality" was not involved.

A citizen reported seeing a woman on the ground just off the walking path around 9:30 a.m.

Kamloops RCMP have identified the woman as being from Kamloops.

The file is now with the BC Coroners Service.

Coquihalla reopens

UPDATE: 8:25 p.m.

After a closure that lasted more than three hours, the northbound lanes of the Coquihalla, south of Kamloops, have reopened. 

Kamloops RCMP said a "serious motor vehicle accident" closed the major highway near the Inks Lake brake check just before 5 p.m. Thursday. 

The highway is now fully open in both directions. 

ORIGINAL: 5 p.m.

Details are sparse, but Kamloops RCMP say the northbound lanes of the Coquihalla are closed, due to a serious vehicle crash.

"Kamloops RCMP presently at the scene of a serious motor vehicle accident necessitating the closure of all northbound lanes at Inks Lake brake check for an undetermined amount of time."

Castanet will have more information as it becomes available. 

Boater still missing

The driver and personal watercraft that went missing on the South Thompson River on Sunday still hasn't been found.

The boater, who was in his early thirties was struck by another watercraft, fell into the water and is presumed to have drifted down the river.

Multiple searches have been done by RCMP officers, the RCMP Dive Team and the RCMP helicopter.  As well, Kamloops Search and Rescue and Kamloops Fire and Rescue have been engaged in searching the river and its banks.

Kamloops RCMP asks anyone who is on or near the river to be vigilant.  If you see anything of a suspicious nature, please contact the police at 25-828-3000.

Standoff resolved

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m.

Kamloops RCMP say a standoff at the Denny's Restaurant on Columbia Street, which began at 4 a.m., finally came to a conclusion when the man was arrested at 2:45 p.m.

Events began to unfold after the man made a threat while inside the restaurant. Staff and customers vacated the building and police cordoned off nearby streets.

Cpl. Jodi Shelkie says police tried, unsuccessfully to communicate with the man throughout the day.

The suspect, armed with a knife, closed all the blinds in the restaurant. He exited the building once, but went back inside when he saw police.

Members of the Emergency Response Team stormed the building and placed the man under arrest.

The suspect is a 29-year-old Kamloops man previously known to police.

The area around the restaurant will remain closed to pedestrians and motorists while police secure the building and make sure it is safe.

UPDATE: 2:55 p.m.

A standoff at a Kamloops Denny's Restaurant has come to an end.

RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie says the man was arrested at 2:45.

The roads around Denny's will be closed for a time while the restaurant is secured.

Police say they will release more information when it becomes available.

UPDATE 12:49 p.m.

Kamloops RCMP are still on scene of a standoff at a Denny's in downtown Kamloops and they are now asking for the public and the media to refrain from posting or sharing images or video that disclose officer locations and tactics in real time for safety reasons.

Cpl. Jodi Shelkie tells Castanet, "Our focus is on a peaceful resolution and we are continuing our negotiating efforts."

UPDATE 7:51 a.m.

Kamloops RCMP remains on scene at the Denny’s Restaurant on the corner of Columbia and 6th Avenue in Kamloops this morning.

Cpl. Jodi Shelkie with the Kamloops RCMP tells Castanet, "early this morning a male went into Denny’s as a customer.   After receiving his bill, he made a threat.   The wait-staff alerted the other employees and customers who all evacuated the building.  Leaving the man alone inside of the restaurant."

When police responded the man closed all the blinds and was seen brandishing a knife. The man left the restaurant briefly but ran back inside when confronted by police officers.

"The Southeast District Emergency Response Team and a negotiator are now on scene."

Police have also shut off the natural gas supply to the restaurant.

Currently, the RCMP have the restaurant surrounded and are attempting to establish contact with the suspect inside.

"At this point we don't know what we're dealing with," says Shelkie.

All residents in the area are being asked to stay inside unless they wish to leave their residence and the area until the situation has been resolved.

Columbia Street is closed from 5th Avenue to 7th Avenue.  Sixth Avenue is closed from Dominion Street to Nicola Street.  Motorists and pedestrians are asked to avoid the area.

ORIGINAL 5:36 a.m.

Kamloops RCMP are on scene at a business in the 500 Block of Columbia Street, in downtown Kamloops, as of 5:30 a.m.

RCMP tell Castanet they are dealing with an individual who has barricaded themselves inside the business and the person is deemed a risk to public safety.

Columbia Street is now closed between 5th and 6th Avenues, as well as the intersection of 6th Avenue at Columbia Street.

Motorists and pedestrians are advised to use alternate routes until further notice. There is no time estimate for re-opening.
The public safety threat is currently contained.  The Southeast District Emergency Response Team is en route.

We will have more information as it becomes available.

1 in 3 distracted on street

A Kamloops study found one in three pedestrians is distracted by cellphones while crossing the street.

The UBC study used cameras to watch a busy intersection over two days.

"We found that more than a third of pedestrians were distracted by their cellphones, texting and reading or talking and listening," said lead author Rushdi Alsaleh, a PhD candidate in civil engineering.

​"Distracted pedestrians had more trouble maintaining their walking speed and gait and took longer to cross the road, increasing the potential for conflict with vehicles," he found.

The group is hoping its data can be used to design smarter autonomous vehicles.

People who were not distracted adjusted their speed and length of their steps when trying to avoid vehicles, but those on their phones only slowed their steps.

If autonomous vehicles can be programmed to recognize distracted pedestrians' walking patterns, they can anticipate the person's behaviour and potentially avoid collisions, the study concluded.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

Still missing on river

Kamloops RCMP have reopened a stretch of the South Thompson River, but have yet to find a missing personal watercraft rider.

The man went missing Sunday evening after two watercraft collided between the Lafarge bridge and Valleyview boat launch.

The RCMP dive team was unable to locate the man Monday and are expected to resume their search today.

The public is asked to keep their eyes open on the water, and is advised additional closures of the river may be necessary.

Impaired drivers busted

Kamloops RCMP caught multiple impaired drivers on Friday.

The impaired driving roadside checks throughout Kamloops were done in support of the British Columbia Counter Attack initiative.

More than 14 police officers were involved with their main focus being intoxicated driving, by either alcohol or drugs.

The results from Friday are as follows:

  • Seven – 90 day IRP (Immediate Roadside Prohibition)
  • One – Criminal Code Impaired investigation
  • Four – 3 day IRP
  • Two – 24-hour prohibition (for being impaired by drugs)
  • Five – Prohibited drivers

Many other violation tickets were handed out as well.  

Kamloops RCMP reminds the public to make sure to have a sober designated driver, money for transit or a cab, a place to stay overnight, or a friend you can call for a ride.

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