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Police Hunt Armed Fugitive


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Oct 22, 2005
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12 Sep 2006

by Andrea Houston,

BOBCAYGEON - City of Kawartha Lakes OPP told residents in the Pigeon Lake Road just south of Bobcaygeon to be on the alert for an armed man dressed in camouflage who fled after a massive outdoor marijuana field was discovered yesterday morning.

More than 30 police cars and an OPP helicopter stormed a property near Peller Crescent in the Rolling Hills subdivision just off Pigeon Lake Road at around 8:30 a.m.

Const. Mark Boileau said more than 2,000 marijuana plants, with an estimated street value of $2 million, and an armed suspect were found in a field just north of Peller Court.

"Executing a search warrant, police located a large grow operation in a wooded area," Boileau said. "A suspect was also found on the property, although no suspect was arrested."

Police cordoned off an area around the property which is slightly north of the upscale Rolling Hills subdivision.

The entrance to Peller Court off Peller Crescent was blocked off by police who were not allowing anyone out or in while they investigated.

Residents were told to stay in their houses and lock their doors, windows and garages and to only leave if absolutely necessary.

Concerned for officer safety, Boileau said the special units were called after the Kawartha Combined Forces Drug Unit searched the area.

Soon after, the OPP tactics and rescue unit, emergency response team, canine unit and the OPP helicopter all arrived.

After police sealed off the area, the search was on for an armed man wearing camouflage and posing as a hunter, according to residents.

"The helicopter was circling here for hours," said Peller Court resident, Joanne Majury. "I suppose they were looking for marijuana plants and the man."

Right next door, Heidi and Ed Wardrope, said the field where the grow op was found is extremely well hidden.

On their back balcony it was difficult to even see where police were cutting down plants to be seized, although a fence could be seen separating the property.

"They are very private. We only met her a couple times, but a little old lady lives there, possibly with her son or grandson," said Ed Wardrope. "They put up a gate surrounding the property to keep out hunters.

"She came by one day and told us to call if we saw any hunters."

Although she never saw anything suspicious, Heidi Wardrope said she remembers the woman marking the posts along the fence to let hunters know they were watching.

"I don't think she would be involved in anything like ( growing drugs )," Heidi Wardrope said. "She's far too old. She likely didn't know anything about it."

Around the corner on Pigeon Lake Road, Barbara and Brian Armstrong along with their family visiting from England, Gloria and Don Nicholson were just getting home at 4 p.m. when police knocked on their door.

"All the police told us was that there was some illegal crops found and an armed suspect was in the area," Brian Armstrong described. "Apparently he was wearing camouflage and posing as a hunter."

"Then they told us to lock our doors and garage and stay inside the house for a while," Barbara Armstrong added. "It made for a very interesting day."

None of the residents interviewed said they feel concerned or frightened after hearing from police that the armed suspect fled the scene.

"Nah, there's no reason to worry," said Peller Court resident Pat McLaughlin. "This is not any different than any other time people have guns."

By 4:30 p.m. most of the police units had left the area, but Boileau said a police presence was kept in the area all night.

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