A man and a woman from Chilliwack are facing a total of 17 charges after fleeing from police who were stopping traffic due to downed trees and power lines in Abbotsford on Monday.
Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said the incident began just after 2 a.m., when a black Toyota 4Runner that had been stopped on Short Road – south of Huntingdon/Vye Road between Gladwin and McCallum – abruptly turned around and sped from the scene.
Police broadcast the vehicle’s description, and several minutes later, a report came in of a single-vehicle crash in the 33800 block of Vye Road.
MacDonald said the SUV had crashed into a fire hydrant and power pole, but the vehicle was unoccupied when police arrived.
Patrol division officers and a K9 unit began looking for the driver and any passengers. The crashed Toyota was confirmed as having been stolen from Chilliwack.
Shortly after, a black Ford Explorer drove by officers eastbound on Vye Road.
MacDonald said the behaviour of the occupants and the proximity to the crash alerted police, who located the vehicle near Highway 1 and No. 3 Road.
The Explorer was confirmed to have been stolen from a residence in the 33900 block of Vye Road, where residents had reported a break-in and the theft of their car keys.
Police laid down a spike belt, which punctured the vehicle’s tires and soon brought it to a halt.
The male driver and female passenger were taken into custody.
Brian Robert Stephan, 29, and Stephanie Liane Glaister, 27, are both charged with break and enter, theft of vehicles, and multiple counts of stolen property.
Stephan faces additional charges of breaching his probation, failing to remain at an accident scene, dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, prohibited driving and driving while suspended.
According to the provincial court database, Stephan has numerous prior convictions for possession of stolen property, break and enter, breaching his probation, theft, obstructing a peace officer and driving while prohibited.
In 2010, the RCMP’s Integrated Municipal Provincial Auto Crime Team named him one of B.C.’s most wanted auto thieves, saying he had an extensive criminal record and was considered armed and dangerous.
At the time, Stephan was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for violating his parole. He was arrested a week later in a Chilliwack apartment building after police received an anonymous tip.
Glaister has no prior charges or convictions, according to the provincial court database.