Ashley Stevenson is recovering from scrapes, bumps and bruises she suffered after she chased down and tackled a woman who broke into her home in Nanaimo on Tuesday. Stevenson and her partner Joe Squire held the woman down until RCMP arrived and arrested the woman who now faces multiple charges including break-and-enter and assault. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

VIDEO: B.C. woman tackles break-and-enter suspect

Nanaimo couple struck with rock while wrestling with suspect before police arrived

A Vancovuer Island woman is nursing scrapes, bumps and bruises while getting kudos from her community after she chased down and tackled a break-and-enter suspect this week.

Ashley Stevenson was in the bathroom of her Nanaimo home at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when her dachshund dog started growling.

“The dog was in there with me and he was growling at the door, but he’s kind of senile, so you know, who knows?” Stevenson said.

At the same time her partner, Joe Squire, was standing on the front porch of their home talking to their next-door neighbour when a young woman, carrying a backpack, casually stepped out their front door, just three metres from where he was standing.

“She looked at me and said, ‘Hey,’ and just starts casually walking down the driveway,” Squire said. “I looked at my neighbour and said, ‘Did that just happen?’”

The neighbour confirmed it had and Squire alerted Stevenson.

“We were both in the house and we believe that she also was in the house already and was in the office stealing all of our computers,” Stevenson said. “We were both upstairs and our office is downstairs.”

Squire gave chase in their car, but Stevenson started chasing the woman on foot. When she spotted the suspect coming out of a neighbour’s basement door, the pursuit was on.

“I just acted and I ran through six backyards and I hopped four fences,” Stevenson said. “I was wearing slippers. I don’t even know why … I just went into ‘That’s my stuff. I’m getting it back.’ I was taunting her, which is terrible. She started slowing down and I went, ‘Oh, no. You’re slowing down. This isn’t looking good for you.’”

As the women ran along the edge of a small ravine behind homes on Shelby Ann Avenue, Stevenson flagged down Squire, resumed the chase, caught up with the suspect again, knocked her down and then leaped on her.

“As she was falling, I just grabbed my backpack from behind and then threw all of my weight down,” Stevenson said.

As the women wrestled, the suspect hit Stevenson on the head with a rock. Just as Stevenson started to tire, Squire arrived and helped hold the woman, who was trying to strike him with the rock, until police arrived.

“We had her nicely gift-wrapped for them. It was a good day for them,” she said. “But they were wonderful and they knew her. Yeah, she’s known to police.”

Stevenson said she’s grateful for the the RCMP’s fast response and for support expressed for her by friends on social media and her neighbours, whom she’s come to know since the incident.

“My post on Facebook really brought a lot of people in my neighbourhood to reach out to me and we’re going to have a get together and a meet and greet over the holidays and it’s a reason why community, you know?” she said.

Stevenson also hopes the woman she caught will get help, now that she’s been arrested, to turn her life around.

According to police, the arresting officers found all of the stolen items.

Natasha Harris, 28, appeared in provincial court in Nanaimo on Wednesday and has been charged with break and enter and two counts of assault with a weapon.

“Good on these two for doing what they did,” Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said in a press release. “We would, however, be remiss to not point out they could have been seriously harmed during the struggle.”

Police never advocate getting into physical altercations with suspects.

“Officers were responding and if they had simply followed the suspect at a safe distance and provided updates, the outcome would have been the same,” he said.

Stevenson has multiple bruises and had difficulty walking Thursday, but she had to retrieve the laptop which contains her university course projects and irreplaceable photos and memories.

“In 20/20 hindsight I probably shouldn’t have done that,” she said. “I should’ve just called the police, but she had my backpack, which had my laptop and my projects for school worth 40 per cent [of the final grade],” she said. “You can’t let that go. That’s your future, so I had to get her.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Big Beach parties spark concern in Ucluelet

“You find needles, left over party debris, bottles and still burning fires.”

Ucluelet’s Terrace Beach Resort is for sale

The commercial offering of 21 suites and cabins was recently listed for $4,495,000

Young tourist caught untying boats from Ucluelet dock

“He was just untying the boats and watching them float away,” said Harbour Master Kevin Cortes.

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Ucluelet RCMP warns of scammers impersonating police

“Police will never demand payment of any kind to get rid of an arrest warrant.”

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read