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A 90-year-old man has been assaulted and had his vehicle stolen after agreeing to give a hitchhiker a ride.
Police said the “particularly disturbing” crime occurred at a gas station in Sicamous last Friday afternoon.
The senior had been pestered by a “persistent” man in Salmon Arm after he drove to a fast food restaurant there earlier in the day.
The man, who police described as 6 ft tall and in his 40s, hassled the 90-year-old for a ride east along the highway.
Police said the driver “eventually agreed” to the request, ultimately taking him to the gas station in Sicamous.
But when he told the man that he wouldn’t take him any farther, police said the suspect grabbed the keys from the ignition.
“He told the victim to exit the vehicle before striking him once in the head and pushing the victim out of his own vehicle,” Mounties explained.
A witness at the gas station then called the police, who set up a roadblock in an attempt to catch the suspect.
That did not succeed, however, as the vehicle – a small SUV – had been abandoned in the Malakwa area, with footprints leading away from the vehicle towards the highway.
The suspect, who was described as wearing a dark plaid lumberjack-style jacket, has not been identified and remains on the run.
Police said he is thought to have an average build and be “scruffy” in appearance.
The 90-year-old victim, who is from Salmon Arm, was taken to hospital to be treated for minor injuries to his face and hand.
"This incident illustrates the dangers associated with offering rides to people you are unfamiliar with," said Sgt. Murray McNeil, Sicamous RCMP detachment commander.
"If you are intimidated by the persistence of someone asking for a ride or money outside a business, go inside and inform staff who can call police to assist you. I find this crime particularly disturbing as the suspect took advantage of an elderly man who offered to help him.
“The suspect used violence to rob an innocent senior of their vehicle who could not defend themselves after they had agreed to offer assistance to a person they did not know."
Anyone with information related to the identity of the suspect can contact the Sicamous RCMP or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.