Cold weather complicates search for suspects in backcountry terrain

Stolen truck suspects found

Two Kelowna residents were arrested Monday after allegedly stealing a F350 truck on Saturday evening and driving it into the backcountry. 

RCMP received a report on Saturday, Nov. 7 that a white 2004 F350 had been stolen overnight in Kelowna. 

Two days later, at about 1 p.m. Monday, Kelowna RCMP Target Team members found the vehicle being driven in the Rutland area. 

RCMP Air Services was brought in to assist with the search and to track the vehicle as it proceeded down a forest service road towards Myra Canyon.

Shortly after, the vehicle was abandoned by the two suspects, who fled on foot into snow-covered terrain. 

"Front line officers who grew increasingly concerned for the couple's well-being launched a ground search of the back country for the man and woman who did not appear to be prepared for the adverse weather conditions, with darkness setting in," says Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy, spokeswoman for the Kelowna RCMP.

"That search intensified with the added assistance from Kelowna RCMP Police Dog Services and RCMP Air Services from the Kelowna airport."

The two suspects were located in the woods at about 9 p.m. and taken into custody, with no injuries despite suffering from mild exposure to the cold weather. 

“This was a long and intensive search,” says Cpl. Guillaume Tanguay of the Kelowna RCMP Target Team. “Because of the coordinated effort, we were able to bring this to a safe conclusion for everyone involved."

The 26-year-old woman has been released from custody for a future court date, while the 36-year-old male remains in custody and will appear in court Tuesday. 

The matter has been referred to BC Prosecution Services for charge approval. 

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