Langley residents credited with suspected car thief’s arrest

Top Langley cop says Willoughby neighbours delivered a message that crime ‘won’t be tolerated here.’

Langley Mounties are crediting civilian teamwork for the ultimate capture and arrest of a suspected criminal.

“A community came together leading to the arrest of a hit-and-run suspect who allegedly had stolen the car and was carrying pepper spray,” said Langley RCMP Cpl. Holy Largy.

Police were dispatched to the 20800 block of 72nd Avenue back on July 25 for reports of hit and run.

A parked car had been struck and the driver of the suspect vehicle, a Kia, walked away on foot, Largy explained.

Witnesses to the crash followed the male driver. He began to run, but dropped his cellphone, which was subsequently picked up by those following him.

they held the phone, but when the driver returned to retrieve it, he allegedly discharged bear spray, took his phone, and ran.

A police dog was brought in, and with what Largy described as “help of an off-duty police officer who observed the suspect running,” the dog team was able to track and locate the suspect hiding in nearby bushes.

“He was arrested and found to have the keys for the Kia in his possession,” the corporal said.

Police determined the Kia had been stolen sometime the prior evening.

Langley RCMP Supt. Murray Power commended those who helped make the arrest.

“It is clear this individual should receive the message – his life in crime is not proving successful,” Power said.

“The people of Langley have come together to deliver this message and this behaviour won’t be tolerated here!”

Mauricio Javier Avila, a 25-year-old from Surrey, has been charged with possession of stolen property, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public, and failing to remain at the scene of an accident.

He is set to appear in court on Friday, Aug. 11.

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