Friday, August 26, 2016

Thieves caught in Coquihalla cattle corral caper

A trio of thieves were caught red-handed Wednesday (Aug. 24) after a string of thefts along the Coquihalla Highway had ranchers at a local cattle company shaking their heads. Six cattle corrals on Coquihalla Cattle Company land had been taken down and the boards stolen since Aug. 21. More than 1,000 wooden boards have been taken, said Marilyn Cooke, owner of the ranch. “We realized one corral was done Sunday. Yesterday, my husband was driving home and the next underpass was taken. This morning, he drives the Coquihalla and the third underpass was all gone, so they worked all night last night taking it,” she said on Aug. 24. With the police notified about the theft, Sgt. Norm Flemming and the Merritt RCMP began to hatch a plan to catch the thieves on Wednesday afternoon. Anticipating that the men might return during the night or early morning hours, police set out to set up security cameras in the afternoon ahead of the planned sting. Only it turned out the sting wasn’t necessary. “Yesterday around two o’clock, one of constables was driving out there to set up some cameras, and lo and behold, they were there cleaning that lumber up,” said Flemming. “We quickly set up a perimeter and a couple of them attempted to dash up hill and hide in the trees, but that became problematic… So they pretty much gave themselves up without any incident.” Three men were arrested on scene, all around their late forties to early fifties, said Flemming, adding that all three men were from Surrey and known to the RCMP in the Lower Mainland. The thefts represent not only a major headache for the ranchers, but also a potential safety hazard for motorists along the highway, as without the corrals, the cattle could find their way onto the road...more

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