Off-duty, barefoot and wearing only his underwear, Hope's top cop engaged in a long-running 20-minute tussle with a suspected car thief in Rosedale early Saturday morning.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Suki Manj was speaking to homicide investigators about a suspected double-murder in Hope just after 5 a.m. when, as he gazed out a top-floor window looking out over his neighbourhood, he spotted a suspicious man pedal his way down the street.
Manj's neighbours had experienced several recent thefts-from-vehicles. So when Manj saw the man pull into his driveway, he cut off his phone conversation, told his wife-RCMP media liaison Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth-to call police, and bolted downstairs.
By the time Manj-wearing no shoes and still clad only in his underwear-arrived outside, the bike rider had broken into his truck.
Manj said he proceeded to engage in a lengthy 20-minute fight with the thief. He said he threw several "closed-fist strikes" while attempting to retain the combative man.
"Every time I got him con-trolled, he would struggle free," Manj said. "He was definitely in fear of being arrested."
The tussle proceeded down the street and ended up in a neighbour's driveway. Eventually, he got assistance from neighbours, whose help allowed Manj to retreat into his home and dress.
Eventually, on-duty Mount-ies arrived on scene. The suspect, a 25-year-old man from Chilliwack, was later released and will appear in court in February.
Manj and Hollingsworth each suffered frost-bite on their feet. Manj also sustained severely pulled back muscles, according to the RCMP.
Police are thanking the public for their help.
"This area has been hit very hard with property crime recently and the community there had a vested interest in apprehending the suspect," RCMP spokesperson Const. Tracy Wolbeck said in a press release.
"Neighbours and the community at large have a higher expectation of police officers whether on-or off-duty. This is an example of that expectation being met. These officers engaged the suspect despite the potential danger to themselves."