Yukon candidate Ryan Leef defends actions in citizen's arrest of sign defacer

Ryan Leef and the woman who was caught red-handed destroying his campaign signs by a dark roadside agree that the incident happened and that it was wrong, but other details in the bizarre story remain fuzzy.

Conservative candidate says camouflage rain jacket part of his 'standard attire;' incident not a stakeout

Yukon Conservative candidate Ryan Leef holds up damaged campaign signs. Leef made a citizen's arrest on a woman Aug. 27 after he caught her cutting holes in the signs on a highway outside Whitehorse. (CBC)

Ryan Leef and the woman who was caught red-handed destroying his campaign signs by a dark roadside agree that the incident happened and that it was wrong, but other details in the bizarre story remain fuzzy. 

Leef says on Aug. 27 he was looking for a good spot to put up a wildlife camera to capture the person who had been damaging his campaign signs when he caught Carrie Boles in the act. 

Conservative candidate Ryan Leef says the best rain jacket he has is his camouflage one, which he was wearing during his citizen's arrest of a woman vandalizing his campaign signs. In this image, Leef wears camouflage in a promotional video about a campaign to raise money for diabetes. (Ryan Leef/You Tube)

Although Leef has said it was not a stakeout, he said he "had no doubt at all" the person would return after damaging his signs the first time. 

"I took a trail camera that you would normally use to photograph moose and deer and bears ...  was looking to put in positions that would actually capture the person doing it."

According to Leef, it was while he was looking for a location for the camera when he spotted Boles in the dark, cutting up his signs. 

Leef said he called the RCMP but when he realized the police weren't going to arrive before she damaged more signs, he approached her. 

Contradictory statements

According to Carrie Boles, two men exited the trees, one wearing camouflage and the other was wearing all black. 

She said the man in camouflage, whom she later realized was Leef, put his hand on her shoulder, grabbed her "really tightly" by the elbow and put her arm behind her back. 

"I probably put my knees to the ground because it was such a shocking experience," she said. 

She said she was then handcuffed. Her timing of the call to RCMP contradicts Leef's statement.

'I have a good sense that it was wrong; I didn't know to what extent it was wrong,' says Carrie Boles about destroying several campaigns signs belonging to Yukon Conservative candidate Ryan Leef. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

"When the police were being called I became aware that I was verbally being put under citizen's arrest," she said. 

Leef admits to having handcuffs with him, on the chance he came across the culprit.

"My training and experience tells me to be prepared," he said in relation to his previous experience working in the field of law enforcement. 

As for the camouflage jacket Leef was wearing at the time, he said it's a "standard piece of attire" for him, explaining that he is an avid outdoorsman and hunter. He was wearing it because it was raining that night and it's his best raincoat. 

Leef said the destroyed signs might amount to about $400, but he has decided not to press charges against Boles.

She said she is "super grateful" for that.

Boles didn't say why she decided to damage Leef's campaign signs. She said she is non-partisan and hasn't voted in more than 10 years.

She said although she has spoken to the other candidates running in the election, she hadn't met Leef until their awkward encounter. 

Leef admitted the story is odd and said he'd rather spend his time knocking on doors than making citizen's arrests. 

RCMP weigh in

A statement from Whitehorse RCMP said the alleged incident between Boles and Leef was "resolved informally." 

It said while citizen's arrests are authorized under "specific circumstances" they are not encouraged. 

"We encourage our communities to leave intervention to the police, who are trained, equipped and have broader legal authorities than the average citizen," the statement read. 


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