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Man bitten by police dog while trying to catch suspected car thief in Maple Ridge
A Maple Ridge man who tried to tackle a fleeing car thief on Friday remains in hospital after being bitten by a police dog.
The man suffered five puncture wounds to his thigh in the attack, which happened Friday night on 119th Avenue near 223rd Street after Mounties tracked a stolen pickup truck to the neighbourhood.
RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen said Mission RCMP's street crime unit spotted the suspicious white truck around 9:40 p.m. and ran its license plate through a police database, which revealed it was stolen.
The officers followed the truck at a distance and did not initiate a chase, while uniformed officers set up a spike belt on Dewdney Trunk Road and Wilson Road, near the border of Maple Ridge.
At 10 p.m. the truck drove through the intersection, where its tires were deflated with the spike belt.
The stolen truck was then followed by the RCMP's helicopter Air One as it headed towards downtown Maple Ridge.
Around 10:35 p.m., two men fled from the truck near 223rd Street north of Lougheed Highway.
A woman who remained in the truck was arrested by police but later released without charges.
A police dog and handler pursued the two men on foot.
A man who lives in a house nearby ran after one of the suspects and used a snow shovel to try to trip the fleeing thief, said a witness, but was bitten by the police dog.
He remains in hospital and is scheduled to have surgery on his leg.
Thiessen said the man saw the suspect running through his backyard and came out to investigate.
"Ultimately he may have not been aware that there was a dog handler behind him," Thiessen added.
"He came between the dog and the suspect."
Police were unable to track the men who fled from the stolen truck and both remain at large.
The police dog involved is being reassessed as per RCMP procedure.
• Anyone with any information is asked to call RCMP at 604-463-6251. To remain anonymous call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or leave a tip online at www.bccrimestoppers.com. CrimeStoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.