A manhunt that tore through the South Okanagan came to a dramatic conclusion in a Cawston orchard.
After two days of police and emergency response teams scouring Oliver and the South Okanagan countryside, at 10:40 a.m. on July 23 Ronald Arthur Teneycke was located and taken into custody.
Orchard worker Bryan Dyck said RCMP t-boned a truck he believes Teneycke was in and the suspect took off running. Walking in a row in the orchard with pruners in his hands, Dyck said he was told by police to get out of the area. Dyck saw RCMP helicopters coming down to land when he heard gunshots.
“(An officer) told me I better get out of there. Here I am with pruning shears in my hands and he’s telling me to get out of there and I’m hearing shots,” Dyck said. “I’d say I was about 20 feet from them. I’m not sure who was shooting at who.”
RCMP confirmed no one was injured in the arrest.
On Thursday morning n RCMP officer involved in the search spotted the vehicle near Cawston that looked like the one Teneycke had allegedly stolen Wednesday near Oliver.
The officer approached and identified Teneycke alone in the vehicle and Teneycke attempted to flee heading toward Fairview-Cawston Road.
Sally Taylor, the orchard owner was at home and a short distance away at the time of the arrest.
“I didn’t really know anything about it. I was out cutting the grass on the riding lawn mower and I couldn’t hear the helicopters. I did know he was in the area so I asked one of the guys just to check the garden shed for me. I was scared he might be in there,” she said.
Her son had called her from his job at the packing house nearby and told her to get in the house and lock the doors because Teneycke was in the area. SHe’s lived in the area for more than 35 years.
“I don’t remember anything like this happening here before. It’s pretty crazy for little old Cawston,” Taylor said.
RCMP issued a warning Wednesday that Teneycke was considered armed and extremely dangerous and was in the Oliver area. The South East District Emergency Response team, as well as police from multiple detachments, including Penticton, were seen in Oliver where police had located a vehicle they believed Teneycke to be driving.
Around 11:30 a.m. Wednesday Oliver RCMP learned that an individual picked up what they thought was a hitchhiker on Baldy Mountain Forest Service Road. Police said the individual allegedly assaulted the driver with a weapon and stole the owner’s GMC pick-up with Okanagan Rustic Furniture written across the back window.
Police are now saying it was Teneycke who stole the vehicle, though there have yet to be charges laid.
On July 16, Oliver RCMP attended to a complaint of an armed robbery in the 6400 block of Park Drive. An unknown man entered the store and produced a weapon. From the description provided, police said they believe it to be similar to that of Teneycke.
Earlier in July, a warrant was put out for Teneycke’s arrest after he failed to show up for his intermittent (weekends only) jail sentence after pleading with the court to extend the start date because of health related issues. Teneycke had pleaded guilty to his most recent charges of making or possessing explosives and possessing a weapon contrary to a court order earlier this year.
Teneycke spent 12 years in federal prison, most of those related to being found guilty of a sexual assault with a weapon on a 17-year-old female. Since his release in 2007, Teneycke has returned to jail several times for breaches of probation and in 2013 was found guilty of possession of methamphetamine.
Teneycke was transported to a neighboring detachment on Thursday and faces a court date Friday.
— With files from Dale Boyd/Penticton Western News