An alleged trailer thief, whom police describe as a “prolific offender,” crashed into an Abbotsford home early Friday morning (Sept. 9) while trying to evade police.
Sgt. Paul Walker, media officer with the Abbotsford Police Department (APD), said the incident began at 4:23 a.m., when patrol officers located a vehicle towing a stolen trailer along Highway 11 and Hallert Road.
Walker said the trailer had been stolen minutes earlier from the Mission area and was loaded with ATVs and a dirt bike.
He said officers began following the vehicle from a distance using unmarked police vehicles.
Other officers were in the process of setting up a spike belt along Clearbrook Road, but the driver spotted them and make a sudden right turn.
Walker said the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a home at Clearbrook Road and Charlotte Avenue (across from Matsqui Recreation Centre).
“Although shaken, the occupants of the home were not injured,” Walker said.
John Szanto, 39, was arrested at the scene and remains in police custody. He has been charged with dangerous driving, three counts of theft of a motor vehicle, theft over $5,000 and two counts of breaching a release order.
According to the provincial court database, Szanto has other charges currently before the courts for theft over $5,000, robbery and fleeing from police in Penticton.
He also has several prior convictions for offences such as assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon, possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession for the purpose of trafficking, theft, possession of stolen property, robbery and kidnapping.
“Prolific offenders such as Mr. Szanto continue to impact our communities, putting public safety at risk,” said Staff Sgt. Mark Jordan.
“These offenders demonstrate time and time again that they have no respect for our Justice system as well as their court-ordered conditions. Our front-line officers are dedicated to holding these prolific offenders accountable by bringing them before the courts.”
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