British Columbia

Break-and-enter suspect charged with coughing on police officers during arrest

Police in Coquitlam, B.C., have arrested and charged a man who allegedly coughed on officers after saying he was COVID-19 positive during an arrest this week.

Detained man said he had COVID-19 before he 'purposefully coughed' in 3 officers' faces, Coquitlam RCMP say

Jewelry and a small amount of cash were among the stolen pieces police were able to return to the elderly victims of the alleged break-and-enter. (Coquitlam RCMP)

Police in Coquitlam, B.C., have arrested and charged a man who allegedly coughed on officers after saying he was COVID-19 positive during an arrest this week.

Tyson Helgason, 24, was placed under arrest and charged in relation to the incident about an hour after he allegedly broke into an elderly couple's home in the 2500-block of Ashurst Avenue on Monday.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Coquitlam RCMP said as a matter of protocol during the COVID-19 pandemic, officers are obliged to ask if suspects are ill with the disease.

"In this case, the suspect confirmed with police that he was sick when asked," said Coquitlam RCMP Cpl. Michael McLaughlin.

"Despite being told not to face police, he allegedly turned his head toward three officers and purposefully coughed in their faces."

Coquitlam RCMP say 24-year-old Tyson Helgason used a rock to smash the ground-floor window to break into an elderly couple's home in the 2500-block of Ashurst Avenue on April 6. (Coquitlam RCMP)

Helgason, from Coquitlam, is facing several charges, including break-and-enter, assaulting a police officer and theft under $5,000.

The elderly couple who lived at the home were inside at the time of the alleged break-and-enter and were not initially aware that a crime had even taken place.

Police were able to recover and return jewelry and a small amount of cash that had been taken.

Helgason remains in custody. His next court appearance will be on April 15.

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