Police in Kelowna are once again searching for a very familiar face.
Friday afternoon, the Kelowna RCMP issued a press release warning the public that John Aronson has recently escaped from a recovery home in Surrey, after he removed his electronic monitoring bracelet.
Police believe the 35-year-old man – described as a “violent, high-risk, repeat offender” – will return to the Okanagan following his escape.
Aronson has been in and out of jail for the past several years, and has been involved in many high-profile incidents in the community.
He's currently facing a handful of weapons charges stemming from a July 5, 2022 incident in Kelowna. While he was also initially charged with armed robbery in connection to the incident, the Crown stayed that charge in December.
Despite his laundry list of criminal convictions and history of disobeying court orders, Justice Steven Wilson granted Aronson's bail in December, but he wasn't released from custody until Jan. 13, according to online court records.
His bail conditions presumably included staying at the Surrey recovery house with an electronic monitoring bracelet, but he appeared to follow those conditions for about two weeks.
On Jan. 30, the Crown was back in court to schedule an application for Aronson's warrant, and on Feb. 1, a warrant was issued for Aronson's arrest.
His most recent charges stemming from the July 2022 incident occurred less than two months after he was released from custody on a prior conviction, that involved him fleeing from police on Sept. 23, 2019 while driving west over the William R. Bennet bridge, and crashing his car into oncoming traffic. He was seriously injured in the crash, spending two months in hospital and being confined to a wheelchair for several months after that.
That crash occurred on the very same day Aronson had been released from custody on a completely separate conviction, which involved him being shot by police and bitten by a police dog during a takedown outside the CIBC near Orchard Park Mall.
During his sentencing on that matter, Aronson told the court: “Obviously what was done was a good eye-opener and I want to be there for my kids except that I was in a bad state of life and I was using. I didn't care what I did. It got control of my life. I'm sorry for what I did and you are not going to see me back in here.”
During his May 2021 sentencing for fleeing from police, Judge Clarke Burnett called Aronson's words “meaningless.”
And when he was denied parole in September 2021, the Parole Board said Aronson had a history of “violent offending, poor supervision history and inconsistent behaviour at [his] current institution.”
Aronson has been well known to police for many years. He had previously been arrested in two “high-risk takedowns” in Rutland, in connection with a violent break and enter in West Kelowna in 2017.
After his first arrest on those charges, he was released on bail and quickly stopped attending court. Police found him and made a second “high-risk takedown."
Despite the RCMP's efforts, the Crown ended up dropping Aronson's seven charges from the 2017 break and enter in November 2018, after the prosecutor determined “the charge assessment standard was no longer met.”
Aronson's record dates back to 2006 in Kelowna, when the then 18-year-old was jailed for 30 days for obstructing an officer and escaping from custody.