Update 09/09/02/ 4:57 p.m.
By Joe Fries
Investigators are continuing to piece together the movements of Pierre Nault to figure out how he got from the Peachland area to the Shuswap with no money and no vehicle.
On Sunday, he was nabbed by Chase RCMP, six days after he fled the Kelowna courthouse in a stolen work van and was seen heading towards Peachland.
At some point, he left a note at a restaurant in Peachland where he used to work, but police only disclosed that this past Monday, at which time Nault was already in custody.
“It’s difficult to say how old the note was or when it was found,” said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, media relations officer for the Southeast District. “A lot of the investigation continues as to setting up a timeline as to where he was and how he got up there.”
According to police, he was in the Shuswap on Friday, when he’s alleged to have set fire to a lakefront home in Sorrento and a travel trailer in Blind Bay.
Then, in the early morning hours of Sunday, two cars, two sheds and a home were also destroyed by fire. However, a firefighter at one of the scenes tipped off cops about a stolen Ministry of Forests truck that Nault was found in. He tried to pass himself off as someone else by flashing the identification found in the truck. He was eventually identified by his fingerprints.
Moskaluk couldn’t comment on Nault’s mental health status.
The case, he said, “is an odd one and we’re very fortunate there was no injuries.”
Update: 09/09/02/ 2:40 p.m.
By Joe Fries
The cops thought Pierre Nault went south. Now it looks as though he went north.
The 24-year-old is now facing nine new charges through the Kamloops court registry relating to a string of arsons in the Shuswap on Aug. 28 and 30.
Details of the arrest do not appear to be forthcoming from the RCMP’s Southeast District media relations officer Cpl. Dan Moskaluk, who has not returned calls for comment. Local media have instead been referred to an online report in the Salmon Arm Observer newspaper.
The Observer reports Nault was impersonating a Ministry of Forests official at the time of his arrest on Aug. 30 in connection with two fires near Sorrento and six others in Celista.
A concerned citizen apparently spotted Nault in a ministry truck and knew he was not the rightful owner. Cops needed a few days to confirm Nault’s real identity.
The arsons in question saw a lakefront home and travel trailer in the Sorrento area destroyed on Aug. 28.
Early on Aug. 30, the next set of blazes began near Celista, when a vehicle, two sheds and a clothing store all went up in flames at roughly the same time.
Court records show Nault is charged with four counts of arson damaging property, two counts of arson in relation to an inhabited property, theft, personation and resisting arrest or obstructing a police officer.
The Observer pegs all of the damage from the fires somewhere in the $10 million range.
On Monday, a day after Nault’s arrest, Kelowna RCMP said he had left a note at a restaurant Peachland, leading cops to think he may have still been in the area after fleeing Kelowna in that direction in a stolen vehicle last week.
Update: 09/09/01/ 4:18 p.m.
It sounds as though the hunt for Pierre Nault is over.
“He’s not dead and we’re not looking for him,” Kelowna RCMP spokesman Steve Holmes told Kelowna.com
Nault, it seems, has had some sort of contact with police since he fled Kelowna last week in a stolen van.
“It ties in with something else that occurred elsewhere in the Southeast District,” Holmes said, indicating more information would be forthcoming once he’s had a chance to co-ordinate with his counterpart at the district level.
Update: 09/09/01/ 11:19 a.m.
By Joe Fries
Peter Nault was “severely paranoid” in the days leading up to his arrest and subsequent flight from the Kelowna courthouse in a stolen van, a friend told Kelowna.com this morning.
Frazer Payjack said the 24-year-old Nault worked under him in Edmonton as a sprinkler system installer for over a year. The two men apparently drove out from Alberta on business the week before last.
“Peter was paranoid the whole trip up. He thought I was going to kill him and take his money,” Payjack said.
On Sunday, Aug. 23, Nault was arrested by police at the Rutland 7-11 after testing all the doors on a police cruiser in an apparent attempt to steal it. Following a court appearance the next day, he tossed a sheaf of papers into the probation office at the courthouse and then took off in a stolen white van with “United Irrigation” stenciled on it.
Payjack said he reported his friend missing on the Monday, unaware he’d been taken into custody and subsequently released. After learning about Nault’s flight from police, Payjack said he drove around Peachland for three hours looking for his friend, as he knew that Nault had once worked at a restaurant there.
Police now think Nault may still be in the Peachland area.
“He could be anywhere in the hills,” Payjack said, adding he’s confident his friend could survive for an extended period of time without money.
In a comment pasted below this story, a woman claiming to be Nault’s sister said he is off his medication and not thinking clearly.
Payjack said Nault clearly has mental-health problems, but, “I know he hasn’t been in the hospital long enough to be diagnosed with anything.”
He described his friend as a “stand-up guy.”
Nault’s actions of late, he added, are “totally not like him… way left field.”
Update: 09/08/31 3 p.m.
Kelowna RCMP press release/edited
Pierre Nault, who tried to steal a police car, assaulted police, then stole a work van when he was released after appearing in court, may have left a note on a local restaurant where he used to work.
Staff, at a restaurant on Beach Ave in Peachland, discovered a note saying that their staff “rocked”. It was signed by “Pete”, most likely referring to Pierre “Peter” Nault, who worked there until moving away to Edmonton a while ago. Staff believe the handwriting is the same as Nault’s.
This prompted an investigation which lead police to believe that Nault may be hiding out in the Headwaters area off the Peachland Forest Service Road. RCMP Air 3 did an aerial search, and police spoke with any campers found in the area. The search proved negative with no one seeing anyone matching Nault’s description or the white work van Nault stole.
Police are still investigating and are asking anyone who may have information of Nault’s whereabouts to contact the Kelowna RCMP at 250-762-3300.
Pierre Nault is still on the loose as of this morning and the work van owned by United Irrigation that he used to elude police has not been recovered.
RCMP Const. Steve Holmes says Nault may have left the area by now.
Update 4:14 p.m.
Kelowna RCMP press release/edited
Just before 1 p.m., police arrested a man who tried to steal a police car that was parked at the 7-11 on Highway 33 at Rutland Rd. North.
A female witness notified police after the male tried to steal her vehicle as well. Police confronted the man and arrested him for two attempts at theft. The 24-year-old man fought with police, but was taken into custody. The suspect appeared in court today. Pierre Nault of Edmonton was charged with two counts of assaulting a police officer, theft under and obstruction.
Nault was released from court after being ordered to see a probation officer. Nault attended the probation office but threw his documents into the office and ran from the courthouse. Nault tried to steal a vehicle driving by, but was unsuccessful. He then stole a work van, with the business name of “United Irrigation” on it. He was last seen driving toward West Kelowna.
Nault is described as Caucasian, with short brown hair, green eyes. He is 5′9″ tall and weights 230 lbs. If he, or the vehicle is spotted, the public is asked to call police immediately.
By Joe Fries
He may have needed to get somewhere fast, but an alleged attempt to borrow a police car parked at a Rutland 7-Eleven only earned a man a one-way ticket to jail.
At a Monday morning press briefing, Kelowna RCMP Const. Steve Holmes told reporters the incident took place on Sunday afternoon in the parking lot of the convenience store at the intersection of Rutland Road North and Highway 33.
Two cops had stopped at 7-Eleven “for a quick refreshment” when a woman came into the store to tell them a man was trying all the doors on the locked police cruiser in an apparent attempt to steal it. He then tried the doors of the witness’s vehicle.
Holmes said police intercepted the man, “who seemed to be quite agitated and under the influence of something.” Cops also found a large amount of cash on his person. He was taken into custody and charged with resisting arrest, assaulting a police officer and attempted theft of a motor vehicle.
RCMP Sgt. Ann Brinnen, also on hand at the briefing, said she was told by an officer on duty Sunday that the suspect was looking for a ride because, “he needed to get out of there fast.”
firstname.lastname@example.org/(250)575-4303Update: Nault nabbed, suspected of arson spree in Shuswap