Community feels “failed”

Community feels justice system has failed them after incident with prolific offender

After a prolific offender in the South Okanagan led tactical teams on a dramatic manhunt, the community of Oliver feels the justice system has failed them.

Oliver Town Council unanimously voted a resolution Monday to send letters to both Attorney General Suzanne Anton and federal Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney requesting an audience to discuss the release of prolific offenders into the community.

Ronald Teneycke, 52, was the subject of the manhunt that came to its conclusion July 23 in a Cawston orchard, and is now charged with robbery relating to the holdup of Eastside Grocery in Oliver, being unlawfully at large and multiple breaches of probation. Charges have yet to be approved, but police reported Teneycke allegedly posed as a hitchhiker assaulting a driver who picked him up and stealing his truck. Police reportedly located Teneycke in that truck which led to his apprehension.

As Teneycke’s next court date approaches on Aug. 5, Mayor of Oliver Ron Hovanes and Oliver council want to see more done to prevent this kind of event in the future.

“There’s a feeling in the community that the system somewhat failed here,” Hovanes said.

Hovanes said the situation was reminiscent of Teneycke’s release in 2007 when the prolific offender was returned to the community. A press release from police warned citizens he was in the community and likely to reoffend.

“We want to send a strong message from the community, not just on behalf of the hands-on victims, but also from the community as a whole. They feel victimized as well,” Hovanes said. “People are on edge and locking doors and doing all kinds of things and we’re saying there obviously was not enough being done to keep a handle on this individual.”

Hovanes said the man who was allegedly assaulted by Teneycke is Oliver resident Wayne Belleville.

“The spouse of the victim, she said to her husband you’re a hero today because you took a bullet and then all the stops were pulled out to catch the guy,” Hovanes said.

Hovanes said these harrowing events will impact any community, but the effect is magnified in a small community like Oliver.

“I think we’ve done our share with this individual. Quite honestly, if he’s out, five years, ten years down the road, I don’t want to see him again. And I want to make sure that wherever he goes there will be adequate resources to look after public safety, that’s the bottom line,” Hovanes said.

He said adequate resources are a big factor in releasing offenders to the community, including mental health facilities and police resources.