Ashley Stevenson is recovering from scrapes, bumps and bruises she suffered after she chased down and tackled a woman who broke into her home in Nanaimo on Tuesday. Stevenson and her partner Joe Squire held the woman down until RCMP arrived and arrested the woman who now faces multiple charges including break-and-enter and assault. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

VIDEO: B.C. woman tackles break-and-enter suspect

Nanaimo couple struck with rock while wrestling with suspect before police arrived

A Vancovuer Island woman is nursing scrapes, bumps and bruises while getting kudos from her community after she chased down and tackled a break-and-enter suspect this week.

Ashley Stevenson was in the bathroom of her Nanaimo home at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday when her dachshund dog started growling.

“The dog was in there with me and he was growling at the door, but he’s kind of senile, so you know, who knows?” Stevenson said.

At the same time her partner, Joe Squire, was standing on the front porch of their home talking to their next-door neighbour when a young woman, carrying a backpack, casually stepped out their front door, just three metres from where he was standing.

“She looked at me and said, ‘Hey,’ and just starts casually walking down the driveway,” Squire said. “I looked at my neighbour and said, ‘Did that just happen?’”

The neighbour confirmed it had and Squire alerted Stevenson.

“We were both in the house and we believe that she also was in the house already and was in the office stealing all of our computers,” Stevenson said. “We were both upstairs and our office is downstairs.”

Squire gave chase in their car, but Stevenson started chasing the woman on foot. When she spotted the suspect coming out of a neighbour’s basement door, the pursuit was on.

“I just acted and I ran through six backyards and I hopped four fences,” Stevenson said. “I was wearing slippers. I don’t even know why … I just went into ‘That’s my stuff. I’m getting it back.’ I was taunting her, which is terrible. She started slowing down and I went, ‘Oh, no. You’re slowing down. This isn’t looking good for you.’”

As the women ran along the edge of a small ravine behind homes on Shelby Ann Avenue, Stevenson flagged down Squire, resumed the chase, caught up with the suspect again, knocked her down and then leaped on her.

“As she was falling, I just grabbed my backpack from behind and then threw all of my weight down,” Stevenson said.

As the women wrestled, the suspect hit Stevenson on the head with a rock. Just as Stevenson started to tire, Squire arrived and helped hold the woman, who was trying to strike him with the rock, until police arrived.

“We had her nicely gift-wrapped for them. It was a good day for them,” she said. “But they were wonderful and they knew her. Yeah, she’s known to police.”

Stevenson said she’s grateful for the the RCMP’s fast response and for support expressed for her by friends on social media and her neighbours, whom she’s come to know since the incident.

“My post on Facebook really brought a lot of people in my neighbourhood to reach out to me and we’re going to have a get together and a meet and greet over the holidays and it’s a reason why community, you know?” she said.

Stevenson also hopes the woman she caught will get help, now that she’s been arrested, to turn her life around.

According to police, the arresting officers found all of the stolen items.

Natasha Harris, 28, appeared in provincial court in Nanaimo on Wednesday and has been charged with break and enter and two counts of assault with a weapon.

“Good on these two for doing what they did,” Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said in a press release. “We would, however, be remiss to not point out they could have been seriously harmed during the struggle.”

Police never advocate getting into physical altercations with suspects.

“Officers were responding and if they had simply followed the suspect at a safe distance and provided updates, the outcome would have been the same,” he said.

Stevenson has multiple bruises and had difficulty walking Thursday, but she had to retrieve the laptop which contains her university course projects and irreplaceable photos and memories.

“In 20/20 hindsight I probably shouldn’t have done that,” she said. “I should’ve just called the police, but she had my backpack, which had my laptop and my projects for school worth 40 per cent [of the final grade],” she said. “You can’t let that go. That’s your future, so I had to get her.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(File image)
Vehicle collides with propane line causing explosion in Thornhill

Driver sustained severe burns, was taken to Lower Mainland in air ambulance

The plan to build a staircase to the Bench includes a channel to more easily transport bicycles up and down. (Photo courtesy City of Terrace)
Staircase to Bench subject of City grant application

Would connect lower Eby St. to upper Eby St.

The car was trapped, with its driver inside, in a ditch off Hirsch Creek Main near Onion Lake overnight Monday (Oct. 19). Oct. 20, 2020. Kitimat RCMP photo.
Man found after spending overnight stuck in car in a ditch near Onion Lake

Kitimat RCMP said the man was stuck there overnight for about 10 hours

Stikine provincial election candidates (clockwise from top left): Nathan Cullen, NDP; Darcy Repen, Rural BC Party; Rod Taylor, Christian Heritage; and Gordon Sebastian, BC Liberals. (Black Press Composite Photo)
B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Charges laid against Prince George man, 39, in drug trafficking probe

Tyler Aaron Gelowitz is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 18

Most Read