NANAIMO — A Nanaimo woman and her partner took matters into their own hands, chasing and then tackling a woman suspected of robbing her home in broad daylight.
Nanaimo RCMP Cst. Gary O'Brien said Ashley Stevenson was at home on Tuesday afternoon in the area of Marisa St. and Tenth St. when she spotted someone leaving her house with a number of laptops and other personal items.
O'Brien said Stevenson and her partner began tracking the suspect, following her through several backyards to a nearby street.
"At one point they went hands on and got into quite a scrap with her. It was a very violent altercation. During that scrap she was spit at and assaulted with a rock. Our officers got there as quick as they could and took the suspect into custody."
Stevenson posted about the incident shortly after in a popular Nanaimo Facebook group focused on the theft issues plaguing the community.
"Took that b*tch down into a ditch, where I held her until the cops came," she posted, with a picture showing a bloodied knee suffered during the ordeal.
The post quickly went viral, garnering over 1,000 likes and hundreds of comments hailing Stevenson as a hero.
"Good for you, you are the kind of people this town needs. You have my utmost respect," one comment said.
Stevenson told NanaimoNewsNOW she was pretty banged up and moving very slowly the day after the ordeal. She said the reaction has been crazy.
Natasha Geraldine Harris, 28, is being held in custody ahead of a Dec. 11 court appearance, charged with one count of break and enter and two counts of assault with a weapon in relation to the alleged incident.
Court records showed Harris was on probation at the time of the alleged break and enter and has a lengthy criminal history, most recently convicted in July of theft under $5,000 for an offence in Nanaimo. She served a single day in jail for that conviction and was handed one-year probation.
O'Brien said as frustration over property crimes grows within the community, they are seeing more vigilante style actions.
"We never advocate anybody going hands on with a suspect. We will not change our position on this. Civilians should not go hands on, they should not get involved in any physical altercations because it can turn sideways pretty quick," O'Brien said.
He said in similar scenarios, people should follow the suspects from a distance and keep 911 dispatchers notified of their location.
On Twitter: @domabassi
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