A sign outside the RCMP detachment in Yellowknife. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio
RCMP in Yellowknife say a 77-year-old man was threatened in his apartment by a man and a woman with a baseball bat after almost the entire city had been evacuated.
According to police, the two people stole cash and a cellphone from the man with the territorial capital otherwise deserted.
A wildfire 15 kilometres west of the city triggered an evacuation order on Wednesday night, and more than 19,000 people had left by late Friday.
RCMP have an increased presence in Yellowknife to patrol the streets in the absence of most residents. Officers alerted at 11:10pm on Friday used surveillance footage from the building to quickly identify and arrest a 34-year-old man and 30-year-old woman from Yellowknife, police stated.
RCMP say the two are being held in custody and will be released on Saturday under a condition to leave Yellowknife for the duration of the evacuation order.
“They will be transported to an evacuation departure location on release. Charges against both are pending,” said RCMP in a news release.
Meanwhile, a 40-year-old man and 41-year-old woman from Fort Good Hope face charges related to trafficking after being stopped at 5am on Saturday on Yellowknife’s Franklin Avenue. Police said officers found two ounces of crack cocaine.
“The male driver attempted to grab a large hunting knife that was concealed in the vehicle. The male was arrested and handcuffed without any injuries,” police stated.
They will also be released on Saturday and are not allowed to be in Yellowknife during the evacuation order. They, too, will be dropped off at an evacuation departure location.
Yellowknife RCMP said they otherwise received “six reports of suspicious persons, two reports of break-and-enters and one false alarm complaint” – though none of the complaints were found to be break-and-enters following investigation.
Some Yellowknife residents forced to leave their homes have expressed concern that properties could be looted in their absence.
“The calls are coming in from essential personnel who have remained in Yellowknife and are doing an excellent job of keeping watch over their neighbourhoods,” said Cpl Matt Halstead, an RCMP spokesperson.
“The RCMP have also received a number of complaints from people who are evacuated but are seeing people or movement on doorbell cameras or security cameras. These calls are appreciated and we will follow up on every one of them.”