By Taylor Lambert
The Moose Jaw Times Herald
After two women had their car stolen by a hitchhiker they had picked up in Moose Jaw Saturday night, police are reminding drivers to think twice before giving a stranger a ride.
"Often people pick up a hitchhiker and they find out he's not just a friendly hobo," says Sgt. Randy Jesse of the Moose Jaw Police Service. "He's hitchhiking for a reason. It's a practice that is very dangerous."
On Saturday night, just before 10:30, two women picked up a male hitchhiker inside the city limits. While heading west on the Trans-Canada Highway, the man threatened to harm the women and proceeded to steal their vehicle.
The car is a grey 2003 Toyota Corolla, with Saskatchewan licence plate 717 GHJ.
The suspect is described as an Aboriginal male, approximately 5'10" tall, 140 pounds with short dark hair. He was wearing a dark windbreaker jacket and backpack.
The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Moose Jaw Police Service at 694-7605.
Jesse notes that the city has a bylaw against hitchhiking within its limits, but that doesn't seem to deter the practice.
"From my observations, out on the highway, you always see them out there, especially in the summertime," he said.
The number of motorists who pick up folks trying to thumb a ride is unknown, but Jesse says it happens too often.
"More times than they should, that's for sure," he said. Jesse added that hitchhiking-related crimes are "quite frequent."
The reasons people pick up hitchhikers might vary, but Jesse speculates they may think they are doing a good deed.
"I think people naturally have a tendency to be Good Samaritans," he said. "They see somebody walking in bad weather or something like that and . . . want to pick people up and help them out. Maybe they're a little naive. Maybe they think it's fun and risky."
But he emphasized that the risk taken in picking up a total stranger on the side of the road is that it could be anybody with any motive.
"Sometimes it's just some kid crossing Canada, but it could be some mass murderer for all you know. And nobody knows you have him, and nobody knows where you are. It's the perfect crime."
Taylor Lambert can be reached at 691-1260.
Carjacking near Moose Jaw leaves women without their car
By Taylor Lambert
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