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Stolen Street Connections van recovered by RCMP north of Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority’s stolen Street Connections van has been recovered north of the city, and a 28-year-old man is charged in connection with that and several other thefts and break-ins.

The van — a white 2013 Nissan NV2500 SV with a large logo on the side — is used to provide harm reduction services to people living on the street. The health authority posted an alert on Monday about it being taken over the weekend.

The alert urged people to be cautious if approached by anyone in the van, as it would not be Street Connections staff. No information was provided about where the vehicle was when it was stolen.

The following day, the WRHA issued a brief news release saying the van was found, but not where. 

On Wednesday, RCMP said the van had actually been recovered on Saturday in the rural municipality of St. Clements, about 25 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Officers had initially been called around 8 p.m. about someone trying to break into a vacant home in the rural municipality of Springfield, east of the city.

A van is seen on an angle from the back. It has colourful letters on the side that say Street Connections.
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority posted on Monday about the van being stolen and then sent out a news release on Tuesday saying it had been found by RCMP. (Street Connections/Winnipeg Regional Health Authority)

The person was gone when police arrived, but a short time later, they received a call about the Street Links van being spotted in the RM of Clements.

Officers found it parked in a driveway and boxed it in. There was a driver in the van, which rammed two police vehicles before getting stuck in snow, RCMP said in a news release.

The driver refused to listen to police commands so officers broke the window and removed him from the van, police said.

They found him with drug paraphernalia and a small quantity of what police believe to be methamphetamine, RCMP said.

A search of the vehicle turned up a substantial amount of stolen property, including purses, wallets, power tools and other items from break-ins and thefts in the area, police said.

The stolen items were returned to the owners and the 28-year-old man was charged with possession of stolen property, breaking and entering, mischief, resisting arrest, assault of a peace officer and failure to comply with previous court orders.

A rental vehicle that was used by Street Links during the van’s absence will remain in use for the time being, until the van is returned. The temporary vehicle has Street Connections signage on the roof. 

The Street Connections team of public health nurses and outreach workers drive around the city six evenings a week, Monday to Friday from 6-11 p.m. and Saturday from 5-10:30 p.m.

They offer safe drug use supplies, naloxone kits to treat overdoses, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections and other health services.

“Our goal is to reduce the spread of sex­u­al­ly trans­mit­ted and blood-borne infec­tions, includ­ing hepati­tis C and HIV, and reduce oth­er drug-relat­ed harms,” the Street Connections website says.

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