Man steals tow truck in downtown Vancouver, nearly crashes into flower stand owner

A Vancouver flower stand owner narrowly avoided injury after a stolen tow truck crashed right next to his business in the downtown core Thursday afternoon.

Vancouver police say a 41-year-old man jumped into a BCAA tow truck while the operator was hooking up another person’s vehicle on Granville Street near Smithe Street.

The man then tried to drive away with the stolen truck while the vehicle was being towed behind it, but quickly crashed into a Mobi bike share station, police said.

The crash also took down a large metal Mobi signboard, which nearly missed Nahed Shamoun as he was selling Valentine’s Day flowers on the sidewalk.

“I was standing right there,” he said while pointing close to where the tow truck ended up, “helping two young ladies get some flowers. And then I heard, ‘boom!’”

Shamoun said the driver then fled towards Granville Street while the BCAA worker stopped the truck before it could continue towards the flower stand.

Shamoun was not injured, but said it was too close for comfort.

“I was like, ‘Is this real?’” he said. “The big sign fell right next to me.

“It’s scary. I was so lucky.”

Police say the man was arrested by officers near the crash scene and charges are being recommended.

The suspect was also treated in hospital for non-life threatening injuries before being taken to jail.

Shamoun said being a witness to the crime was shocking.

“We don’t need to see this in great Vancouver city, to have these kinds of things,” he said.

“We’re all fine, no one’s hurt and these things can be replaced, but we don’t want bad guys doing this.”

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