One man has now been charged following a recent theft in Richmond that ended in an assault with pepper spray, police said on Tuesday.
In a release, Richmond RCMP said that at approximately 2:14 pm on May 2, officers were called after a man was allegedly observed smashing the window of a vehicle and stealing a wallet from inside. When the man was confronted, he proceeded to run away, police said.
The vehicle’s owner followed the man while his friend called 911, providing officers with a brief description of the suspect and the direction he had run. Police said officers “quickly flooded the area” and located the owner of the vehicle while “simultaneously setting-up quadrants.”
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The vehicle owner told police that as he followed the suspect, the suspect slowed down, allowing the vehicle owner to catch up to him. The victim told police he thought the suspect was going to return his wallet.
“As he got near the suspect, [the victim] was allegedly pepper sprayed,” police said. “Despite this, the vehicle owner continued to follow the suspect in the hopes of retrieving his wallet.” The victim eventually lost track of the suspect, but with the assistance of a police service dog, “he was located hiding in some bushes” and subsequently held in custody.
Now, police said Coleton Szalay, who is known the police, has now been charged with the following:
- Assault with a weapon
- Possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose
- Theft under $5,000
“We understand that the victim wanted to retrieve his wallet, but trying to approach a suspect can be dangerous,” said Richmond RCMP Cpl. Adriana Peralta. “In this case the male was allegedly armed with pepper spray.”
Fortunately, said Peralta, “the victim wasn’t injured, but we want to remind the public that if they witness a crime to keep a safe distance, provide updates of the individual’s whereabouts to police, and let the police be the ones to make an approach.”
Anyone who may have witnessed, or have information regarding, this incident is asked to contact Richmond RCMP at 604-278-1212. Those who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or leave a tip online.
Richmond RCMP recovered the victim’s wallet and seized a can of pepper spray.