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Calgary man tracks down thief who stole his company’s $15K trailer, catches arrest on dashcam video

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An act of vigilante justice was captured on video this week, as a Calgary man tracked down a thief that stole his company’s $15,000 trailer, called it in to police and recorded the whole thing on his dashcam.

Robert Michaud owns a construction company in the city and said he’s had his company’s property stolen about six times in the past few years and neighbouring companies have been targeted as well.

Usually it’s copper or batteries, but on Jan. 6, he was hit with another theft, watching the culprits on surveillance video breaking the lock and hooking up his trailer before leaving with it.

“That trailer was slated to be used on a job the next day, so yeah, we just wanted our equipment back,” he said.

“The police said they were going to try and find the person. But we just found them before they did.”

A few days after the theft, one of his brothers spotted the stolen trailer on the highway. Michaud was in the area and caught up to it and verified that, indeed, it was his stolen property — but the logos had been painted over.

“Then I got on the line with the RCMP in High River to say I’m following my stolen trailer. There’s really no place to turn off at that point.”

Police took one person into custody and charged them with possession of a stolen vehicle. (Robert Michaud)

In the video, recorded on Michaud’s dashcam, RCMP cars waiting on the side of the road flick on their lights before pulling the truck towing the stolen trailer over.

He said he never had any intention of confronting the thief, but after spending so much money and time dealing with theft, it felt vindicating to get his property back himself. 

“[I was] ecstatic … I never get to see or hear what happens to these people or how they were caught, so it was nice to see it happen first-hand,” he said.

One charged, say police

Calgary police confirmed that on Wednesday, the day Michaud’s video was shot, they took one person into custody and charged them with possession of stolen property.

A police spokesperson also said they generally wouldn’t encourage following along as an arrest is made, as police don’t know who they’re dealing with and they don’t want the public to put themselves at risk.

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‘Too soon to celebrate’ Ottawa’s low case count, says Etches

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Ottawa Public Health (OPH) logged just 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the lowest daily total since Sept. 1.

Because of the lag between testing and reporting, the low number could simply reflect low turnout at the city’s testing sites on weekends — all month, new case counts have been lower on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 

During a virtual news conference Tuesday, the city’s medical officer of health Dr. Vera Etches said she doesn’t read too much into a single day’s report.

“I don’t think we can make too much of 11. Actually, it could be a lot higher tomorrow — I would expect that, on average,” she said. “It’s too soon to celebrate.”

Provincewide, public health officials reported 1, 249 new cases Tuesday.

OPH also declared 62 cases resolved Tuesday, lowering the number of known active cases in the city to 462. Two more people have died, both in care homes currently experiencing outbreaks, raising the city’s COVID-19 death toll to 361. 

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Santa Claus isn’t coming to Ottawa’s major malls this year

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Santa Claus may still be coming to town this Christmas, but he won’t be dropping by any of Ottawa’s major malls, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Friday, Cadillac Fairview said Santa won’t be making an appearance at any of its 19 malls across Canada, including Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa. On Tuesday, Bayshore and St. Laurent shopping centres confirmed they, too, are scrapping the annual tradition.

“Due to the evolution of the situation in regards to COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel our Santa Program and Gift Wrap Program this year,” Bayshore spokesperson Sara Macdonald wrote in an email to CBC.

Macdonald said parent company Ivanhoé Cambridge cancelled all holiday activities “due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the country.”

Macdonald said families that had already booked an appointment to visit Santa will receive an email with more information.  

Virtual visits with Santa

Rideau Centre said based on customer research and discussions with public health officials, its North Pole is going online this year.

“Children will be able to have a private chat with Santa,” said Craig Flannagan, vice-president of marketing for Cadillac Fairview. “You’ll also be able to join a 15-minute storytime with Santa over Facebook Live.” 

At Place d’Orléans Shopping Centre, visitors are invited to take a “selfie with Santa” — actually, a life-size cutout of Santa Pierre, the man who’s been playing Santa at the east end mall for years.

“We understand that this is not ideal, but in lieu of this tradition we will be doing what we can to maintain and encourage holiday cheer,” according to a statement on the mall’s Facebook page.

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Ottawa Bylaw breaks up two large parties in Ottawa over the weekend

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OTTAWA — Ottawa Bylaw is investigating social gatherings of more than 10 people in private homes across Ottawa last weekend.

Mayor Jim Watson tells Newstalk 580 CFRA that Ottawa Bylaw broke-up two house parties over the weekend, with 20 to 25 people at each party.

“That’s the kind of stupidity that angers me, that’s where the bulk of the transmissions are taking place, if we exclude the tragedy of the long-term care homes; it’s these house parties with unrelated people,” said Watson on Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa at Work with Leslie Roberts.

“The message doesn’t seem to be getting through, particularly to some young people who think they’re invincible.”

In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Bylaw and Regulatory Services Director Roger Chapman says, “There are still ongoing investigations from this past weekend that could result in charges.”

Chapman says recent investigations led to two charges being issued for social gatherings of more than 10 people in a private residence in contravention of the Reopening Ontario Act.

“In one case, up to 30 individuals were observed attending a house party in Ward 18 on Oct. 24,” said Chapman.

“The second charge was issued following a house party in Ward 16 on Oct. 31, where up to 16 individuals were observed to be in attendance.”

The fine is $880 for hosting an illegal gathering.

Alta Vista is Ward 18, while Ward 16 is River Ward.

Ottawa Bylaw has issued 24 charges for illegal gatherings since the start of the pandemic.

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