A heavy police presence has been reported near Richmond Park in Kelowna this afternoon. (Sydney Morton/Capital News)

Police track armed kidnapping across Thompson-Okanagan

RCMP allege it was a targeted crime believed to be linked to the drug trade

An alleged robbery turned kidnapping in Kamloops spilled over to Kelowna Thursday, and that’s what prompted Mounties to lockdown part of a city block.

Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey with the Kelowna RCMP explained the reason behind the extensive police presence on an apartment building in the 1100 block of Bernard Avenue was a kidnapping.

READ MORE: SCENE OUTSIDE KELOWNA BUIDLING CLEARED

“With the safety of the hostage victim, the responding police officers and the general public in mind, the incident prompted the temporary closure of roadways in the immediate area and a temporary hold and secure of nearby businesses,” said RCMP Cpl. O’Donaghey, in a press release.

The targeted crime which Mounties say was linked to the drug trade didn’t end Thursday on Bernard Avenue, which explains the social media buzz of numerous police sightings.

Kamloops Cpl. Jodi Shelkie, explained that the woman who was believed to be kidnapped in a Valentine’s Day Kamloops robbery was carted to Kelowna with her alleged assailants but not recovered in the downtown police lockdown.

On Friday, Feb. 15, police determined that the captive woman could be in a vehicle travelling from Kelowna to Kamloops.

“This vehicle was stopped by police near Falkland. Officers arrested a man and a woman and located the kidnapped woman. Thankfully, the woman was uninjured. Firearms were also seized from this vehicle,” said Shelkie.

“First and foremost, our concern was for the woman who had been kidnapped. The danger that she was in cannot be overemphasized. Officers knew that the suspects were armed. It was unknown what their intent was regarding her life. Few details could be released to the media to protect our investigation and ultimately, help get this woman back to safety.”

The investigation is still ongoing and police are working to identify and locate the second suspect involved in the robbery. It is clear this was a targeted crime and involved participants in the local Kamloops drug trade.

All investigative information will be forwarded to the British Columbia Prosecution Service for consideration of appropriate charges. Numerous serious charges are expected against the suspect arrested in Kelowna.

READ MORE: Police incident unfolds in Kamloops

ORIGINAL:

A heavy police presence has been reported near Richmond Park in Kelowna this afternoon.

A witness tells the Capital News he was driving home, about 1:45 p.m. on Bernard Avenue when he saw several police vehicles, an armoured truck and non-marked cars in the area.

The vehicles then passed the witness and drove through the neighbourhood. As he pulled into his driveway, he heard a loud bang and saw smoke come from the area.

The witness says he heard yelling and then all vehicles dispersed; however there are still police circling the area.

The Capital News has sent a reporter to the scene.

@carliberry_
carli.berry@kelownacapnews.com

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