Encounter took place on Pitt Meadows dike. (News files).

Car keys stolen in scary encounter on Pitt Meadows dike

RCMP say man looked mentally ill, likely to be deported back to Mexico

An early Wednesday morning walk with her dogs along the north Harris Road dike left a Pitt Meadows woman shaken by an intimidating encounter.

Sandra Paulsen was on the road just before 7 a.m. , Wednesday when she passed a man walking barefoot. But shortly after he passed by he ran back towards her. “He got right up to me and told me I was to give him the car keys now. And he was really agitated and seemed aggressive, so I just handed over my keys.”

Paulsen knew by the sound his voice that he meant what he said and that it was crucial he got the keys. She gave him the key fob to her 2016 Honda Pilot which has keyless ignition, but he couldn’t figure out how to get in. All Paulsen wanted to do was get past him and get on to the road so she could get away, but when she tried to pass by, he rushed towards her.

Her friend was in the area and saw the car jacking and drove up to her truck.

“I just ran for her truck. I threw my little dog, through her window.” She put her second larger dog inside her friend’s truck and they took off.

They called police while a passerby blocked Harris Road with his truck. Ridge Meadows RCMP showed up soon after.

Paulsen wasn’t hurt in the encounter but sensed something wasn’t quite right with the man. It was frightening however. She could see he was really agitated.

Police arrested the man who was from Mexico and who was later turned over to Canadian Border Services Agency because he lacked proper documentation. He also seemed to have mental health issues. It’s possible the man could be deported, said RCMP Staff Sgt. Tony Farahbakhchian.

Criminal charges won’t be filed, he added. “We often have situations where people are acting irrationally.” If it’s not a serious crime, police usually don’t proceed with charges.

“I feel for this individual that needs some kind of help. I feel sorry for him, but don’t feel safe with him running around,” said Paulsen.

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