'I am not a hero': Victoria cab driver tells how he caught wanted sex offender
VICTORIA -- A Victoria taxi driver who heroically intervened to catch a high-risk sex offender insists he was just doing his "duty as a citizen" when he helped police apprehend a man who was wanted on a Canada-wide warrant.
Bluebird Cabs driver Mohammed Fadil Rashead says he picked the man up at a bus stop in the 1400-block of Craigflower Road on Sunday morning.
The passenger, 56-year-old Scott Jones, has a history of violent sex offences and is considered a high-risk to reoffend, according to the RCMP. He was wanted for being unlawfully at large, Victoria police said Friday.
The driver says Bluebird had already sent out a fleet-wide alert with the man's description – white, bald, blue eyes and short – but with no photo and little else by way of description.
Rashead tells CTV News that when the man got in the car, he showed Rashead a hotel room keycard and asked to go there. The keycard did not say the name of the hotel, however, and the passenger didn't know the name either, Rashead says.
So the man asked to be taken to Douglas Street and said he'd know the hotel when he saw it.
"I took him to a few hotels, then I took him to the 1850 Douglas St. hotel and he says, 'Yes this is the hotel,'" Rashead says.
Outside the Island Travel Inn, Rashead became suspicious.
"He doesn’t want to go through the lobby, he wants to go through the underground," the driver says. "He used the keycard to try to open the gate but it didn’t work."
That's when the passenger suddenly decided he wanted to go buy a used car instead.
"He asked me to go to Langford," Rashead says, adding the passenger then presented cash up front.
"I started thinking about this guy because he looks to me suspicious," the driver says.
The used car lot on Sooke Road was closed, so the passenger asked to go to a nearby grocery store. "He was really cold and tired when I picked him up," Rashead says.
"He handed me his money and asked me to go to Superstore – inside – to buy him some clothes," the driver says. "I said 'Why you don’t buy clothes yourself? I don’t know your size.' And he said, 'I didn't do anything wrong but police are looking for me.'"
Rashead says he agreed to go into the store and buy the man some jeans, shirts and a jacket. The passenger handed him $350 cash, he says.
"I told the guy, 'I'm going to lock the car on you. I have to lock the car,'" Rashead says.
So the driver went into the Superstore, leaving the wanted man in the parking lot.
But once Rashead got inside, he immediately phoned his taxi company and told them to call police while he watched his car.
Police phoned Rashead back and within minutes an officer was on scene, he says. But the ordeal didn't end there.
When the West Shore RCMP officer told the wanted man to open the car door, the man allegedly began lighting the interior of the car on fire.
Mounties say the officer then smashed in the window and, with the help of several other police units, arrested the man.
"I am not a hero, I am just a regular citizen," Rashead says. "I did my duty as a citizen – a good citizen – and I'm very happy I did this."
Rashead owns the car the incident unfolded in, and he's since been out of work while the car is getting repaired, he says.
Still, the cab driver says he has no regrets about what he did.
"He was so angry at me, I think, but I don’t care, I have to do my duty," Rashead says. "If the car burned and he is inside, he would get killed."
The West Shore RCMP thanked Rashead for his quick actions in a statement Sunday.
Jones has since been transferred into Victoria police custody.