RCMP pursued tractor thief suspect with passerby's snowmobile: UPDATED
Blackfalds RCMP were led on a long, wild rural chase by a suspect who first stole a snowmobile, then attempted to take an ATV, and finally fled in a tractor full of firearms on Wednesday.
Through various means, including a Taser, police tried to stop the suspect. But he wasn’t arrested until the tractor stalled going up a hill and rolled once, with seven stolen firearms inside the cab.
The circumstances that led to the chase started at 3:30 p.m. when Blackfalds RCMP were called to a complaint of a break and enter at a rural address on Hwy 595, southeast of Red Deer in the Pine Lake area. Police said a man allegedly stole firearms as well as other items and then fled in a stolen snowmobile.
He allegedly got the snowmobile stuck and stashed the firearms in a hay bale. Police said he then attempted to steal a side-by-side ATV from another house to try to get the snowmobile unstuck. However, he was confronted by the homeowner and fled.
At 5:09 p.m., police received a complaint of a John Deere 6400 tractor with a front-end bucket being stolen. The suspect allegedly used the tractor to pick up the firearms he stashed in the hay bale.
The complainant reported watching the tractor being driven across fields nearby.
Blackfalds RCMP began following the movements of the tractor along the fields and secondary roads around Township Road 374 and Range Road 250.
The tractor crashed through farmers’ fences and stands of trees on their properties.
A Blackfalds RCMP member stopped a nearby snowmobiler and was offered a ride on it to track the stolen tractor. Cpl. Barry Laroque said police vehicles were unable to pursue the tractor suspect because the snow was too high and they wouldn’t have traction in the fields that the tractor was crashing through.
“Our member was out walking and the snowmobiler happened by and our member asked if he would be willing to let him jump on the back of a Skidoo and follow the tracks,” said Laroque.
“He said yes and continued on, found the tractor and followed it at a safe distance. We didn’t put that snowmobile or snowmobiler in any type of risk.”
A window of the tractor was broken out and at one point a police officer attempted to use a Taser to subdue the suspect.
“It didn’t stop the tractor,” said Laroque.
“It was aimed inside the cab, there was a window broken out and the Taser was used, but it had no effect.”
At about 6:45 p.m., the suspect tried to climb a hill but the tractor stalled. When he tried to back it down the hill, he lost control and rolled the tractor one complete revolution with the seven firearms in the cab. Police said none were loaded.
The man was not injured and subsequently taken into custody. All the firearms and other stolen items were recovered.
The tractor suffered extensive damage.
Jesse Cecka, 25, of no fixed address, has been charged with break, enter and theft; theft over $5,000 for the tractor; breach of existing court orders; and multiple counts of mischief.