Just weeks after a troubling incident saw Dinsmore man Thomas Zaugg taken into police custody after a standoff in which a portion was livestreamed on Zaugg’s YouTube channel, some bizarre vehicle activity that took place around the village had some residents baffled and others on edge.
It’s unknown if there was a solid link between the additional vehicles moving around town and the incident with Zaugg from the night of January 6, but some speculated it to be the case.
A reader reached out to this reporter to provide a copy of a public letter that was released from the Village of Dinsmore on the matter, dated February 4 and signed by the village administrator, Kelly Dodd on behalf of the mayor and council. There were concerns over what had been happening in the community of less than 300 people, and some believed it to be an overreach on the part of the police.
“Whatever is going on is insane,” said the reader, in a message to this reporter on social media. “No less then 3 vehicles watching Dinsmore at all times plus a vehicle with we assume a camera pointed at Zaugg’s house. This has got out of hand. Police won’t say much besides they aren’t doing anything illegal. When Zaugg leaves town at least 2 tail him. A lot of us think it would be better just to leave him be.”
The letter from the Village of Dinsmore stated the following:
“Re: Activity Within Our Community
As the majority of the community is well aware there have been several vehicles present within our community over the past few weeks. These vehicles include Trucks, Vans and SUV’s. They can be found sitting throughout the community, and at the entrances to the community, as well as driving in and around the community. There are anywhere from 3-5 at any given time throughout the day, well into the evening, perhaps even 24/7.
We have met with the RCMP, and expressed our concerns regarding this perceived surveillance. The RCMP assure us that these vehicles are here for work. They assure us that there is no threat to the community. There has been an increased RCMP presence in our community and this will continue until these subjects are no longer working in the area.
Even though the RCMP have stated that there is no threat to the community; we understand that those that have been affected either directly or indirectly most likely do not feel that way. Here are a few things we can do as a community to ensure we all feel safe:
- You do not have to stop for these vehicles. If you feel they are following you, lock your doors. Keep driving. You need to stop for RCMP vehicles only. Report the incident to the office, the RCMP, or both.
- If these vehicles are parked on your property you are well within your rights to ask them to leave, if you do not feel comfortable, please contact the RCMP directly and they will assist you.
- If you encounter a vehicle, and are in a position to take a picture of the vehicle or the license plate, please do. Please do not put yourself in danger, or break any hands-free driving laws to obtain this information. If you do have a sighting please text the information to (306) 331-8540 so that this information may be provided to the RCMP.
Please do not harass these vehicles, or insert yourself unnecessarily into the situation. Please report any suspicious activity to the office, and the RCMP if the situation warrants. We are working closely with the RCMP to ensure that our community stays safe.
We thank you for your cooperation with this, and will provide you with additional information should it become available.”
The Outlook reached out to the Saskatchewan RCMP in search of any form of clarity on this matter and received this response:
“We do not comment on any ongoing police investigation. The most important message to reassure residents in the Village of Dinsmore is that our front-line officers are working diligently to maintain the safety and security of residents by being present in the community and continuing to respond to calls for service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
The reader indicated this past week that the vehicles had just up and left Dinsmore a few days after the release of the village’s letter, so local residents are just putting the entire weird occurrence behind them.
If the surveillance-type vehicles were indeed in Dinsmore to keep a watchful eye on Thomas Zaugg, their efforts may have ultimately been in vain. In a video message posted on his YouTube channel on February 11, Zaugg, who is living under what’s known as a Community Treatment Order, says “bye for now” while broadcasting from a motel room. He goes on to describe a legal loophole that he found in which the Community Treatment Order isn’t applicable outside the province, which Zaugg says he doesn’t want to abide by because of a drug that he doesn’t want injected into his body. Zaugg says if he leaves the province, he doesn’t have to obey the order. He also commended the people of Dinsmore for welcoming him and making him feel like a member of the community.
Zaugg’s comments indicate that he’ll return to Dinsmore sometime in the summer. For the time being, he plans to move back to his original home of Toronto.