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

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

Just Posted

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Suspect arrested after armed robbery in downtown Castlegar

Victim was allegedly threatened with knife and bear spray

A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared at a vaccination clinic in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health region

The total number of cases in the region since the pandemic began is now at 7,334

(file photo)
Nomination packages available for Castlegar byelection

The mayor’s seat and one council seat will be on the ballot

The Skinny Genes Foundation is raising awareness and funds for a rare genetic disorder that claimed both his father and uncle.
NHL players, local businesses help Kootenay man raise funds and awareness for rare genetic disease

Signed NHL jerseys and local business donations up for auction in Skinny Genes Foundation fundraiser

Columbia Avenue Redevelopment — Phase 2 will begin in February. Image: City of Castlegar
Construction on the Columbia Avenue Redevelopment Project beginning March 1

Crews will be clearing brush and trees and removing asphalt

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Most Read