WINNIPEG -- Teen car thieves have long been a problem in Winnipeg, but lately they've added a dangerous twist -- they've been smashing into police on purpose.Quote has been trimmed
At least three Winnipeg officers have been hurt trying to stop stolen cars recently. Last week, police say one of their vehicles was rammed by a stolen pickup truck whose occupants were trying to get away, regardless of who or what was in their way.
That scene has played out at least nine times in the past year -- four times in the past month -- in Winnipeg, which has long been known as Canada's auto theft capital. Three bystanders have been killed and at least two other people seriously injured by stolen cars in the past year.
The city's auto theft problem isn't simple and experts don't see eye to eye on how to fix it. They do, however, agree that its roots can be traced to Manitoba's other dubious distinction -- the province is the child poverty capital of Canada.
"These kids don't have a shot in hell,'' says Liz Wolff, a clinical therapist who works with five of Winnipeg's most chronic young car thieves. "Their lives have no hope. They don't have a lot of expectations about their life.''