Site of perceived standoff had no suspects when police entered Friday afternoon
UPPER STEWIACKE – A woods camp where police believed two break and enter suspects had taken refuge on Friday was empty when it was entered about mid afternoon.
“We entered the cottage and we did not find the individuals,” RCMP Sgt. Al LeBlanc told The Truro Daily News late Friday afternoon.
“At this time there is no reason to believe that public safety is at issue. It’s quite likely they are no longer in the area.”
A contingent of RCMP officers were dispatched to the camp on Stewart Hill Road at approximately 9:30 a.m. after a vehicle that police believe they had attempted to stop the night before in Upper Stewiacke was spotted there.
“We’re pretty confident they were in the cottage,” LeBlanc said. But, “the reality,” he added, “is we can’t confirm with certainty it is them.”
The cabin had been barricaded by police throughout the day until it was entered by police around 3:30 p.m.
If the suspects were indeed there, LeBlanc said, he feels they left the cabin before police arrived on the scene.
When police did arrive in the area, residents were told to lock their doors and stay inside.
Stewart Hill Road was blocked off at Meadowvale Road and also at its further end.
"I'm scared to death," said area resident Jody Evans, who had been told by police to keep her doors locked. "Sick to my stomach."
LeBlanc said the two individuals police believed had been holed up in the cabin were suspects in a “major break and enter investigation” for crimes committed in the Halifax area and possibly other areas of the province.
“We believe we have them contained and, of course, we are trying to make contact with them,” he had said, earlier in the day.
That, of course, proved not to be the case.
The situation began at approximately 10:30 Thursday night after police attempted to stop a vehicle that sped off in a “reckless” manner as it fled the scene.
A vehicle believed to be the same one was later spotted at the cottage, which then led to the police being called to investigate.
The RCMP Emergency Response Team and a crisis negotiator had also been called to the scene.
After the building was found to be empty LeBlanc said all other hunting camps in the area were searched and determined to be empty of any suspects.
The search for the individuals is continuing with the use of two police dogs and other efforts, he said.
Evans said rumours about the incident were “swirling” around the Upper Stewiacke area, including that one of the suspects was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant for murder.
“The break and enter story doesn’t sit that well with all these police cars,” she said.
LeBlanc, however, said he could not confirm any information about a murder suspect.
The Stewart Hill Road was reopened to the public late Friday afternoon.