Maple Ridge city Councillor Ahmed Yousef delivered an alleged thief to the RCMP after a citizen’s arrest at his home.
Now he wants to ensure the culprit faces justice, but police say they are not considering charges.
Yousef’s home is undergoing extensive renovations, but he has secured the site with a high metal fence.
Still, he noticed earlier this month that someone had gone into his garden shed and stolen a hedge trimmer, as well as its batteries and charger. He put a new padlock and bolt on the shed door.
Later, he noticed the newly installed lock had been broken, leaving the shed insecure. He searched and found nothing obviously missing, but suspected the culprit might be planning to return later to make a bigger haul.
At about noon on Nov. 8, Yousef was downstairs in the home when he heard footsteps. Someone was moving around on the main floor of his house. He surprised the intruder at his back door.
“That’s when I confronted him. I acted very swiftly to restrain him on the ground,” he said.
He said the perpetrator had a pair of bolt cutters, but did not appear to have a weapon. The perp was the larger man, but Yousef had self-defence training, and kept him on the ground.
He called the police to report a citizen’s arrest.
Yousef took photos of the culprit’s face, and of his BC Services Card - revealing a 30-year-old Maple Ridge resident. The intruder had three duffle bags – one he was carrying, one he left in the house, and one near his bike, outside the fence. Yousef did not get a chance to look into them before police arrived.
The arresting officer was pleased to find the culprit still there, and told the city councillor that in most cases of citizen’s arrest, the perpetrators have left the scene by the time police arrive.
Yousef said he heard the officer place the man under arrest for breaking and entering.
However, the episode did not end to the satisfaction of the councillor, because the officer released the man from the scene.
“He got out of the police cruiser, got on his bike, and rode off,” said Yousef.
Now he hopes there will be charges, and plans to press the issue.
“Obviously he was in my house uninvited,” Yousef said.
The entire situation could have been much worse, if one of his more vulnerable family members had been at the house, he asserts.
“There was potential for this to go very badly, very quickly.”
Not charging the intruder would send the wrong message, Yousef said.
“We’re teaching them that if you’re down and out, feel free to break into people’s homes and steal,” he said. “We need equal and consistent application of the law.”
Police are not considering charges at this time, calling the man a “squatter at an insecure, partially torn down residence.”
“Police were contacted by the owner of the property who located the unknown person on their property,” said Cpl. Julie Klaussner. “Police attended and the person was removed without incident. This investigation is concluded and charges are not being considered at this time.”
Informed about the police statement, Yousef called it disappointing, but said he plans to urge police to charge the man he apprehended.