Man keeps Mounties busy

Campbell River RCMP concerned for a man who was seen ranting on Youtube and then lighting his hair ablaze

Police arrested Andrew Agopowicz six times last November.

Still, a psychiatrist has found Agopowicz fit to stand trial on a 11 charges including theft, resisting arrest, causing a disturbance and drug possession.

“He seems to understand who the players are in the courtroom and what’s going on,” said Crown prosecutor Adrienne Venturini during a bail hearing.

Agopowicz appeared in Campbell River provincial court Jan. 20. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

According to Venturini, Agopowicz has a long criminal record with convictions for 14 thefts, eight breaches of court orders, five for obstruction of justice, illegal possession of a weapon, mischief, robbery, and escaping custody.

On Nov. 28, 2013, RCMP was called by Home Hardware staff who were pursuing Agopowicz after he allegedly took a shopping cart. The officers who arrived immediately recognized Agopowicz from past dealings. They were concerned for his mental health, especially after they had watched a recent Youtube video showing Agopowicz ranting about pipelines and China, and then repeatedly stabbing a large stuffed panda bear.

The video concludes with Agopowicz lighting his hair on fire and then falling to the ground, and rolling until the fire was out.

Mounties arrested him under the mental health act following a struggle. He was later taken to the RCMP detachment, but his unusual behaviour did not change and so the following day he was admitted to the psychiatric unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Comox.

A few days later, Agopowicz was released from hospital. According to his lawyer, Agopowicz was prescribed Dexedrine, a stimulant which didn’t help his sleeplessness.

On Dec. 7, back in Campbell River, Agopowicz was walking through the Mariner Square shopping complex when he approached a food bank drive.

He announced he was hungry and demanded all the food in the truck. Agopowicz repeatedly swore and was scaring children, when a man finally intervened.

Agopowicz then went to a nearby restaurant where he was found by police ranting, flailing his arms and demanding $60,000. However, he willing left and so did police. However, it wasn’t over yet. RCMP received several calls of Agopowicz entering stores in Discovery Harbour Mall, demanding food and money, and behaving erratically.

He was eventually wrestled to the ground by RCMP and handcuffed inside the Target store where he had loaded up a buggy with clothes. During the struggle, one officer was allegedly punched in the nose.

Agopowicz has been in custody since then and will remain behind bars until trial on March 26.