A suspect wanted in connection to a pharmacy robbery in Everett was arrested in downtown Barrie, Tuesday afternoon, in a truck with three blown-out tires thanks to a police spike belt.
From the time of the robbery until the suspect was taken into custody, just over an hour had elapsed.
The vehicle came to rest in the middle of Dunlop Street, at the intersection of Bradford Street.
Shortly after 1 p.m., Tuesday, Nottawasaga OPP officers responded to a reported robbery at a pharmacy in Everett, approximately 40 kilometres southwest of Barrie.
Responding officers spotted a truck matching the description of the suspect vehicle and began to follow it.
“The driver failed to stop,” OPP Sgt. Peter Leon told BarrieToday at the scene of the arrest in downtown Barrie. “At one point, a short suspect-apprehension pursuit was initiated and my understanding is it was called off in the Highway 89 area.”
The vehicle was spotted again in the Angus area and continued to make its way toward Barrie.
“There was a controlled tire-deflation device utilized, commonly known as a spike belt, on a couple of occasions which resulted in two of the tires deflated,” Leon said.
“As it entered the city of Barrie with flat tires, officers were assisted from above by the OPP helicopter,” the sergeant added. “Barrie police officers also provided assistance to the OPP unit that were attempting to stop this vehicle.”
Eventually, Leon said the suspect began to make his way back toward downtown, at which point another spike belt was used, resulting in a third blown tire.
Officers boxed in the vehicle, which had been slowed substantially, and arrest the suspect without incident around 2:20 p.m.
“He was travelling at speeds less than what is posted here in the downtown area,” Leon said, “really due to the fact that, at the time, he was operating with two flat tires.”
Leon said the public was never in danger during the chase.
“As you can appreciate, downtown Barrie at any given time of the day is highly populated with a lot of vehicular and a lot of pedestrian foot traffic, so the observations that were able to be maintained were done from above,” Leon said.
No injuries were reported.
“Using the OPP helicopter, we were able to maintain observation of that individual from a safe distance, keeping public safety obviously in mind at all times,” he said.
It’s unclear whether the robbery involved money, drugs or both, but Leon said more details will be released shortly.
The suspect was taken to the Nottawasaga OPP detachment were charges will be formally laid.
The investigation is ongoing, and officers remain on scene at the Everett pharmacy.
“The investigation is certainly still in its early stages,” Leon said. “I do anticipate a significant number of charges will be laid upon completion of this investigation.”
The pursuit also showed a significant amount of co-operation between city and provincial police.
“When our officers realized that the individual was heading towards the city of Barrie, information was immediately shared with the Barrie Police Service,” Leon said. “They, again, provided a significant response to assist us.”
Barrie police Const. Sarah Bamford said it was a prime example of the two police forces working together.
“Essentially, when the vehicle came into our jursidiction, we assisted the OPP,” she said at the scene, adding public safety was always the prime consideration.
“It was certainly a collaborative effort, with public safety being the utmost consideration throughout this entire ordeal,” Leon said.