Ottawa Police investigating '24-hour overnight challenge' inside local businesses
Ottawa Police are investigating a series of YouTube videos that show people hiding out overnight in various businesses throughout the city. There's a store, a gym; even the Red Blacks stadium. Police say these actions are illegal and they want to shut it down. It’s called the 24-hour overnight challenge and the challenge for police is to shut it down before they strike again.
“We’re doing another overnight challenge,” says “JayStation” on his YouTube channel, “this time in a glow in the dark bowling alley.”
“JayStation” has posted a series of these videos showing himself and often a buddy going into businesses like the Merivale Bowling Centre during the day, then hiding out overnight. In the video, Jay and his co-conspirator Scrubs are seen hiding in the back of the bowling lanes, among the pins.
The footage was shot this past Sunday. Stephane Campeau, who works at Merivale Bowling Centre recently learned of their stunt but remembers the two guys quite well.
“They were asking a lot of questions,” Campeau recalls, “but that's typically what people do when they haven't been here before; what time we close, and what not.”
Now he knows why they were asking those questions. The two videotape themselves sneaking through the building after the place shuts down, then triggering an alarm that sends them running.
There have been two stunts like this in the past week; one at the bowling alley and another at the Movati Athletic Centre in the west end. Police are investigating both of those.
“It looks like something that could be taken lightly by the half million people who have viewed (the YouTube channel),” says Staff-Sergeant Mike Haarbosch, with Ottawa Police Robbery and Break and Enter Unit, “but I guarantee we are taking it seriously and we want to put a stop to it now.”
Police have contacted both the Crown's office and provincial prosecutors who are reviewing the videos to see what charges can be laid.
But “Jay”, who is seen in one video in a department store trying on expensive shirts and coats, is careful to make it clear he's not damaging or stealing anything.
“I'm wearing the nicest jacket I’ve ever seen,” he says, “I could rob this place blind, but believe me, I’m not doing that.”
So the most police have been able to get him on, so far, is a trespassing charge. After attending a Redblacks game earlier this month, he and another man hide first on the roof, then inside a stairwell. Their movements trigger an alarm and he starts that video saying he “just got out of jail.”
Ottawa Police say he is clearly breaking the law and they are onto him.
“It's illegal,” says Staff-Sergeant Haarbosch, “and we are going to respond accordingly.”