Brit steals fire truck in Canada; drives into U.S. illegally

| 6/20/2005

Maybe there’s a reason border officials are having trouble catching criminals sneaking into the United States: the criminals have stopped sneaking.

An unnamed 35-year-old British man is facing charges after allegedly stealing a bright red fire truck in Ontario and driving it across the United States-Canada border into the U.S.

According to media reports, the truck – which was being returned from a restoration in Colorado but was halted at the border due to paperwork problems – was parked at the Blue Water Bridge border compound near Sarnia, Ontario, when it was stolen.

A man entered the compound and stole the truck, but stopped to pay the toll on the bridge, the London Free Press reported.

Border officials told the man to pull over after discovering that he had no paperwork for the truck, but he refused and headed into the United States on Interstate 94.

U.S. officials did not chase the $700,000 vehicle into the U.S., but Michigan State Police later found it abandoned in a ditch. The suspect is in police custody as the investigation continues, the Free Press reported.

Police told the Free Press the suspect is a 35-year-old British man who was living temporarily in the United States, but was in Canada visiting his girlfriend. Investigators believe alcohol may have been a factor in the theft, CFRA-AM reported.

The incident comes just weeks after border guards in Calais, ME, allowed 22-year-old Gregory Despres to cross into the U.S. after confiscating a homemade sword, hatchet, knife, brass knuckles and a blood-covered chainsaw. Despres was arrested two days later in the U.S. after his Canadian neighbors were found dead.