Subject of Vernon police manhunt has lifetime gun ban

Robert Gordon Heltman, 30, was subject of a Vernon police manhunt that descended on a residence on Brooks Lane off of Okanagan Landing Drive, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. He is wanted Canada-wide for suspension of his day parole.Robert Gordon Heltman, 30, was subject of a Vernon police manhunt that descended on a residence on Brooks Lane off of Okanagan Landing Drive, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. He is wanted Canada-wide for suspension of his day parole.
Robert Gordon Heltman, then 19, was wanted by police in 2010, according to an article published in the Vernon Morning Star on March 28, 2010. (Vernon Morning Star file)Robert Gordon Heltman, then 19, was wanted by police in 2010, according to an article published in the Vernon Morning Star on March 28, 2010. (Vernon Morning Star file)
A member of the Vernon & Area Community Forum on Facebook shared a photograph of the police incident that had a portion of Brooks Lane blocked off Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, in Vernon. (Cora-Lee Lulu - Facebook)A member of the Vernon & Area Community Forum on Facebook shared a photograph of the police incident that had a portion of Brooks Lane blocked off Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020, in Vernon. (Cora-Lee Lulu - Facebook)
Robert Gordon Heltman, who has ties to Armstrong, was wanted province-wide and considered dangerous, according to a 2015 Crime Stoppers report. (Prince George Citizen File)Robert Gordon Heltman, who has ties to Armstrong, was wanted province-wide and considered dangerous, according to a 2015 Crime Stoppers report. (Prince George Citizen File)

The subject of a police manhunt that came down on a Vernon neighbourhood Wednesday evening (Aug. 19) has a history intertwined in courtrooms across British Columbia.

Vernon police were searching for 30-year-old Robert Gordon Heltman, whose Facebook profile indicates he’s from Armstrong, as he is wanted Canada-wide for breaching conditions of his statutory release. But when officers finally gained entrance to the Brooks Lane home, he wasn’t there.

While inside, police found and seized a loaded handgun.

Heltman was slapped with a lifetime firearms ban in January 2018 and given jail time after being found guilty of possession of a restricted firearm, controlled substances for the purpose of trafficking, and breaching probation in Prince George.

Heltman’s court records date back to 2009 with incidents in both Armstrong and Vernon, including assault, possession of a weapon and theft under $5,000.

Police, supported by the Southeast District Emergency Response Team, swarmed the lakeside neighbourhood around 6 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 19. Several police vehicles and armed officers clad in camouflage were seen surrounding the residence.

Neighbouring homes were evacuated as a precaution while police tried to make contact. Residents and bypassers watched curiously from Okanagan Landing Road.

“Given the high-risk situation involving a federal offender and the possibility of a firearm,” Vernon North Okanagan RCMP said, “police officers contained the area and activated the South East District Emergency Response Team to assist with clearing the residence.”

Flash bangs were heard around 7:30 p.m., according to witnesses. The event concluded around 8:30 p.m. and Vernon officers confirmed Heltman was still loose.

Ten years ago, Crime Stoppers was seeking information on Heltman as a provincewide warrant was issued for a breach of undertaking, assault and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public, according to a Morning Star report published March 28, 2010.

Five years later, Heltman reappeared on Crime Stopper’s wanted list for failing to comply with probation.

“Heltman should be considered violent,” reads the Crime Stoppers report, published in the Prince George Free Press, April 17, 2015.

Heltman’s Facebook indicates he attended Pleasant Valley Secondary School in Armstrong.

Police continue to search for Heltman and anyone with information regarding the 30-year-old man are urged to contact the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP non-emergency line at 250-545-7171 or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

READ MORE: Federal offender not found after Vernon police search

READ MORE: RDOS, City of Penticton, BC Wildfire hold press conference


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Crime

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

Just Posted

Pen High student Myles made this Little Library in his woodworking class and it now stand in front of West Bench Elementary. (Submitted)
Penticton Secondary student makes Little Library for primary school

The Little Library has been installed in front of West Bench Elementary

The Desert Centre in Osoyoos opened on Saturday for the season. (Contributed)
Osoyoos Desert Centre opens for the season

‘Getting out in nature is one of the most important remedies [during] COVID restrictions.’

The Pencticton Vees beat the Trail Smoke Eaters 7-0 in the second to last game of the season on Saturday. (Pentiction Vees photo)
Penticton Vees play last game of season today at 4 p.m.

The Vees have dominated the league in wins and play the Cranbrook Bucks at 4 p.m.

This is where the new BC Housing for people experiencing homelessness will go on Skaha Lake Road, blocks from the popular tourist spot Skaha Lake park and lake. (Jesse Day file photo)
LETTER: No on-site drug use means it will be done nearby Skaha Park

Recovery and accountability are good ideas but not near popular tourist beach

Book Shop by Michael Law
There’s magic and colourful history at Penticton’s largest and oldest book store

The Book Shop, like so many businesses, is wanting to turn the page to the end of this pandemic

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Spallumcheen councillors (from left) Todd York, Gerry Popoff, Christine LeMaire, John Bakker, Joe Van Tienhoven and Andrew Casson join Mayor Christine Fraser (fourth from left) in helping to proclaim the township open for business with new signage off Highway 97A. (Township of Spallumcheen photo)
Being open for business paying dividends for Okanagan township

Spallumcheen wins provincial award, new business and building starts increase

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Salmon Arm Silverbacks forward Mathieu Bourgault (13) tries unsuccessfully to deflect past West Kelowna goalie Johnny Derrick during the Warriors’ come-from-behind 7-6 BC Hockey Leaguje pod shootout victory Saturday, May 8, at Vernon’s Kal Tire Place. (Tami Quan Photography)
West Kelowna Warriors rally to edge Salmon Arm in shootout

Warriors overcome three significant deficits to post 7-6 BCHL pod win in Vernon; Silverbacks finish pod 9-7-2-2

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Most Read