Crown attorney turns cop on a bike

Prosecutor cycling to work chases mugger


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Who knew the wheels of justice came on a fixed-gear road bike?

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 14/03/2009 (5201 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Who knew the wheels of justice came on a fixed-gear road bike?

Manitoba Crown attorney Adam Bergen found himself involved in an unusual "make-work" project Friday morning after he stumbled across a crime in progress and then pedalled after the perpetrator through downtown traffic.

Bergen, 32, was cycling to his office when he saw a middle-aged woman being bowled over by an aggressive mugger who grabbed her purse just outside the Legislative Building.

"At first I thought it must just be kids fooling around. It was brazen, to say the least, at 8:30 in the morning," Bergen said in an interview.

Several Good Samaritans who were much closer than Bergen jumped in to help the woman and quickly wrestled her purse away from the thief, who managed to slip away.

Bergen decided to give chase.

"I figured since I was on my bike, I could catch him," he said. "I had my wheels, so I would be faster than anyone else."

The man, whom Bergen described as seeming to be "out of it," weaved through several parking lots and back alleys just south of Broadway. Bergen was soon joined by another cyclist, but briefly lost sight of the accused.

"Someone on the street yelled to us that he had run into an apartment building (on Edmonton Street)," Bergen said.

Bergen took the rear door while the other man took the front, wanting to keep the suspect trapped inside. Police were called by cellphone and arrived several minutes later.

"We didn’t want to confront him; we just wanted to keep him in there," said Bergen.

Unfortunately, the man somehow managed to elude capture. Police searched the block but were unable to find him. Bergen thinks he might have had some help from a tenant in hiding out.

The Crown attorney admits the last thing his overworked and understaffed prosecutions department needs is its employees actively bringing in new cases. But he said it was a no-brainer to try to do the right thing by helping out a fellow citizen.

Fellow Crown attorney George Demoissac was standing outside the Woodsworth Building and witnessed the immediate aftermath.

He applauded Bergen and everyone else who responded to the victim’s screams for help. She did not appear to suffer any physical injuries, but was clearly shaken up emotionally, he said.

Bergen is now experiencing some good-natured ribbing from colleagues, but he’s not the first Crown to spring into action outside the courthouse.

Prosecutor Brian Sharpe did his best Superman imitation several years ago when he witnessed an empty car rolling out of control on a busy downtown street.

The 1987 Honda Civic had slipped off the back of a tow truck and had already crashed into a parked van as it approached an intersection.

Sharpe ran after the car, eventually catching up to it, opening the driver’s door and jumping inside to apply the brakes. There were no injuries.



Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre
Sports columnist

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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