Steven Tatoosh, front, and the rest of his Hupacasath First Nation council including Brandy Lauder, left, Warren Lauder, second from right, and Jim Tatoosh were all re-elected in April 2019 for the next two years. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Longtime B.C. First Nation chief charged after break-and-enter

Hupacasath First Nation’s Steven Tatoosh faces numerous charges following a Jan. 28 incident

The Chief Councillor of Hupacasath First Nation in Port Alberni has been charged with break and enter and possession of stolen property after an incident on Jan. 28.

Steven Patrick Tatoosh, who was re-elected for his fifth term as chief in April 2019, has been on medical leave from the First Nations council since August, a council member confirmed.

“He asked to leave council. He needed to take a medical leave,” said the councillor, who asked not to be named.

“There are only three ways to remove an elected chief: that’s if he dies, if he formally steps down as chief…or if he’s convicted. We can’t actually remove (Steven Tatoosh),” the councillor said.

“Hupacasath Council and administration have worked diligently and tirelessly to address the issues caused by these unfortunate circumstances surrounding this vacancy,” said Jim Tatoosh, another Hupacasath councillor (Tatoosh was erroneously referred to as acting chief in a previous edition of this article). “As a community we are unified and working hard to continue on a path of health and prosperity and ensure our community is well represented on all levels.”

Hupacasath Council terms are for two years.

On Tuesday, Jan. 28 at approximately 7:40 p.m. a homeowner in the 3600-block of Eighth Avenue noticed her detached garage door was partially open, and saw a beam of light moving about as someone was looking around inside. The woman called police and kept an eye on the activity until police arrived, according to Port Alberni RCMP media liaison Cpl. Amelia Hayden.

The Port Alberni RCMP were quick to respond and located the suspect still on site upon their arrival. A 42-year-old Port Alberni resident was found inside the garage and he was promptly arrested. Further, he was found to be in possession of stolen property belonging to at least two other individuals.

A vehicle owner in the 2600-block of Sixth Avenue had reported to the Port Alberni RCMP earlier in the day that they had their wallet and some other small items stolen out of their unlocked car, likely as it was parked overnight. Subsequent to the arrest, police were able to recover some of these belongings. Police also recovered other stolen items belonging to a third individual.

Steven Patrick Tatoosh was charged with one count of Break and Enter and three counts of Possession of Property Obtained by Crime Under $5000. His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 19, 2020.

“We were fortunate here to have been able to recover at least some the vehicle owner’s identification and belongings. It’s really important that everyone take whatever steps they can to prevent these crimes of opportunity and to safe guard their identity and valuables,” Hayden said.

(This article has been edited to correct a reference to Jim Tatoosh as acting chief for Hupacasath First Nation. Jim Tatoosh said he and other councillors have taken on additional duties to fill the vacancy of chief councillor; there is no acting chief councillor position provided under the Indian Act, of which Hupacasath currently falls under).

Crimecrime ratePORT ALBERNItheft

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

 

(BLACK PRESS file photo)

Just Posted

Comox Valley gives back

Comox Valley businesses, organizations and individuals helping improve the lives of others

Comox Valley playgrounds, outdoor fitness stations now open

School District 71 and Comox Valley local governments have reopened outdoor playgrounds… Continue reading

City of Courtenay outlines changes to property tax payment options due to COVID-19

Courtenay property tax notices were mailed on May 27-28, and will be… Continue reading

Comox Museum exhibits available for online viewing

Visit all the Comox Museum exhibits from your home, on its website

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

COVID-19 birthday drive-by celebrations snuffed out in Island community

Bylaw officer visit with threats of a fine mean parade trucks taken off the road

Vancouver Island Regional Libraries to offer ‘takeout’ style services

VIRL will offer the service on a branch-by-branch basis

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Duncan’s Queen Margaret’s School pioneers thermal imaging in school reopening

Private school is first in B.C. to use new tech post-COVID-19

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read