A Delta man went for a swim in False Creek earlier this week in an attempt to evade Vancouver police after allegedly stealing some groceries and assaulting a police officer.
At around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, police were called to the Whole Foods in the 500-block of West 8th Avenue after a report a suspected shoplifter had fled from the store's loss prevention officer after a brief struggle.
The suspect could not be found but officers recovered the stolen groceries and left the scene.
Less than two hours later, at about 7:15 p.m., the Whole Foods loss prevention officer was walking home when he was approached by the shoplifting suspect he had tussled with earlier. The man asked if he could get his keys back, which he had dropped during the struggle at the store.
The employee asked him to follow him back to the store and to wait outside while he went into retrieve the keys.
Unbeknownst to the suspect, the loss prevention officer called police to report that he had returned.
Plain-clothed officers arrived a short time later, but the suspect fled as soon as he saw them. The officers called for back up and chased after the suspected shoplifter.
Police caught up with the man, who had run into an apartment complex in the 600-block of Heather Street. Officers attempted to take the man into custody but he punched one of them in the face and took off again.
With officers in full chase, the suspect sprinted north across West 6th Avenue, ran through a growth of blackberry bushes, across the train tracks, jumped over a fence and then past the SkyTrain station towards the water.
"By this point, officers knew they were dealing with someone who was determined not to be arrested, but what happened next surprised even them," said a Vancouver police press release.
Without hesitation, the suspect ran to the seawall and jumped into False Creek. He swam towards a marina where he disappeared between some boats.
Officers set up a containment area and a police dog was brought in to help track down the suspect, who was eventually found dripping wet on the dock where he finally gave up.
Paramedics were called as officers were concerned the man, a 22-year-old from Delta who is known to police, may be suffering from hypothermia from his time in the water.
He was taken to hospital but later released and taken to jail.
The man is facing several charges, including theft, assault, assaulting a peace officer and escaping lawful custody.