Police don’t buy Penticton man’s excuse

Man found in driver’s seat of a U-Haul vehicle in Vernon said he was just looking for a ride back to Penticton

He told police he suffered from stiff man syndrome and he was looking for a ride back to Penticton.

That’s why he was in the driver’s seat of a U-Haul vehicle of a Vernon neighbourhood early Sunday morning.

A local resident called the Vernon RCMP detachment shortly before 12:30 a.m. to say they saw a light going on and off in the U-Haul which was parked in the 2500 block of 43rd Street.

“One of our officers arrived and saw a male sitting in the driver’s seat of a U-Haul van,” said RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk. “The man in the driver’s seat was wearing a black hoodie, gloves and was tampering with the vehicle’s ignition.”

The man was arrested and he identified himself to the officer as a 49-year-old from Penticton.

The suspect had his walker on the passenger seat of the U-Haul and a black bag containing a balaclava, and other items considered break and enter equipment.

“The suspect told the officer he suffered from stiff man syndrome” and needed a ride back to Penticton,” said Molendyk.

Medical-related websites describe stiff man syndrome (also known as stiff person syndrome) as a rare disease related to the nerves, and is an auto-immune disorder that affects the central nervous system which leads to a progressive condition of fluctuating muscle rigidity and spasms. The rigidity is mainly seen in the spinal region and lower limb area.

The man was released from custody on a promise to appear in court.