A social media challenge to Saskatoon police appears to have failed for a suspected mailbox thief.
Leslie Joseph Vermette gained a measure of fame across the province after an account under his name commented with “catch me if you can, pigs” on a Nov. 1 post to the Saskatoon Crime Stoppers Facebook page seeking information on his whereabouts in connection with a string of thefts from apartment mailboxes.
“I was aware that this ‘taunt,’ if you will, was issued and we have to accept challenges like that, as a community,” said Const. Ryan Ehalt, the Crime Stoppers co-ordinator for the Saskatoon Police Service.
Vermette was arrested Tuesday in Saskatoon after reportedly giving himself up to police officers who had surrounded a home where he was staying.
Ehalt said there was little doubt in his mind Vermette would eventually end up behind bars.
“It lasted a little bit longer than I anticipated, but it ended up with the result that we are now seeing.”
Ehalt said Vermette’s case is an example of how social media has become a powerful tool for police, particularly in cases of what many would term “petty crime.”
“There’s always a victim. There’s always somebody that’s impacted by this,” he said.
“By creating this place now where we can share and get a community involved, it’s been quite successful.”
Vermette is facing nine charges of breaking-and-entering. His co-accused, Bradly Waselenchuk, remains at large and is wanted in connection to 12 break-and-enters, as well as a warrant from Regina police for being unlawfully at large.
Ehalt said there was information indicating Waselenchuk may be in the area around Prince Albert.