Violence is not the answer, says Trail man who confronted two alleged thieves who were in the act of using his stolen banking cards.

Empathy, not ire when Trail man catches perp red-handed

“The kid needed a hug, not me getting physical,” Jeff Bruce said after tracking down alleged thief.

Jeff Bruce went from crime victim to crime sleuth to crime solver in just a few hours Monday morning.

And if that wasn’t enough, the West Trail father threw in a big dose of compassion for an alleged thief he had never met before that day.

His morning began in a usual way. Shortly after 8 a.m. Bruce hopped into the family car – which was parked on his property outside a two-car garage – to drive his kids to school.

That’s when he noticed the vehicle had been rummaged through and his expensive sunglasses, wallet, and his son’s wallet, were gone.

“Unfortunately my car was unlocked,” he told the Trail Times. “I was bringing in groceries (the day before) and I assumed I had locked it. And when I felt my jacket, I thought my wallet was in my pocket, but it was actually my cell phone.”

Within minutes, Bruce was on the phone with American Express to report his stolen credit card.

The company told him the card had already been used that morning at Glenmerry Husky. Notably, Bruce’s banking and credit cards have “tap” technology, meaning no pin is needed for purchases under $100.

So on his way to the Trail police detachment, Bruce stopped by the gas station to find out if the perpetrator – or perpetrators – were still hanging around. At this point, he didn’t know how many were involved.

“I figured what the heck, I may as well see if they are still there,” he recalled. “Or get a description from the fellows that work at Husky. The guy remembered (the suspect) had a white hoodie on and a back pack.”

After the police station, Bruce’s next stop was to report his stolen bank card to the credit union in downtown Trail.

When the doors opened at 9:30 a.m. sharp, in he went.

Bruce was immediately informed that his bank card had been used twice at Walmart that morning, and it had just been used at Waneta Plaza.

“So I drove out to the mall, I had that brief description from the guy at Husky,” he said. “When I got there and looked around, I noticed a guy with a back pack and another with a white hoodie on. And I confronted them.”

Bruce stressed that he did not know either of the two young men.

“They denied, denied, denied,” he said. “Then one guy took off and ran, and the other guy went the other way.”

One of the suspects soon gave up the chase. That’s when Bruce chose to slowdown and have a heart-to-heart with the young man, whom he says appeared to be strung-out.

“I said, you’re on video tape using my cards, so you are already going to be nailed with fraud,” Bruce recalled. “I said, ‘Save me some money and (give) my wallet back, and my son’s wallet back – and my sunglasses.”

The suspect denied stealing the pricey glasses, but when he opened the back pack, there they were.

“Then I said, ‘Look I’ll take you up there (to the police station) if you want to get help,” he recounted. “You are saying you want help, it might do you good to turn yourself in, and perhaps you can straighten yourself out.”

Bruce stressed that he didn’t know the suspect, but he did ask his name.

“I had no clue who they were,” he said.

“But once the kid said who he was, I felt bad for him because his dad passed away from an overdose a few years ago,” Bruce explained. “He said he needed rehab to straighten out his life, so I said I would take him to get help, because he was going down the same road.”

By 10 a.m. Bruce had escorted the suspect to the Trail detachment.

“Officer Zilkie was absolutely outstanding at the police station,” Bruce said. “And they were shocked, this was a first. Nothing like this had ever happened before.”

In the end, Bruce says the two spent over $1,000 using the cards and stole about $700 worth of items from the car, including his son’s Christmas money that was in one of the wallets.

After such a tumultuous day, Bruce had some advice to offer others caught in crimes of opportunity like he was.

First of all, he says to be proactive and shut down all credit and bank cards immediately.

“And violence is not the answer,” Bruce said. “The kid needed a hug, not me getting physical.”

The Trail and Greater District RCMP is looking into the second male involved in the incident, and both suspects will be investigated for the theft of wallets and fraudulent use of credit cards.

Related story here: Trail man nabs suspected thieves



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Milestone RCMP Cops For Kids fundraiser ride going virtual

You can join and help RCMP raise funds for families and possibly win 20th anniversary cycling shirt

Hwy 1 flooding causes massive delays on certain Arrow Lakes ferry routes

Motorists have been waiting around three hours to get on ferries

Nelson cyclist run over by truck

Driver ticketed for failing to yield right of way on left turn

Flooding at Castlegar’s Millennium Park delays opening of swimming ponds

The park’s third pond rose after BC Hydro increased its discharge rates at the Keenleyside Dam

Rossland Museum and Discovery Centre expands operations online

The facility also opened back up to the public earlier in June

Man charged in Rideau Hall crash had rifle, shotguns, high-capacity magazine: RCMP

Hurren is accused of threatening to cause death or bodily harm to the prime minister

B.C. extends income assistance exemption for COVID-19

Provincial program to match Ottawa’s CERB, student pay

Broadway veteran Nick Cordero dies from coronavirus complications

During Cordero’s hospitalization, Kloots sent him daily videos of her and their 1-year-old son, Elvis,

Northern communities welcome tourists as province opens to in-B.C. travellers

Officials have asked British Columbians to be careful as they travel this summer

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Most Read