A reporter and Loyalist College journalism graduate is being credited for providing information that led to the capture of an armed bank robber.
According to a report in the Kingston Whig Standard penned by Mike Norris, their own reporter Steph Croiser played an instrumental role in the apprehension of 30-year-old Tristan Drouin of Gatineau, Quebec.
In the report, Kingston Police Detective Blair Watt said he believes Croiser ‘is the reason why the case got solved so quickly’ and he is going to recommend her for a civilian police award. The award is presented annually to members of the public whose actions have assisted police or the community.
On March 17, Drouin, known as the “Blue Jays Bandit” was sentenced in a Belleville courtroom to serve four years in a penitentiary for robbing eight banks including ones in Trenton, Napanee and Kingston. A total of $12,000 in cash was stolen, $500 from the RBC in downtown Trenton.
It would be following the robbery in Trenton on November 15 that Croiser spotted Drouin heading west in a gold Cadillac sedan.
The report illustrated how Croiser said she thought she recognized him from surveillance video of the robbery in Kingston.’ Moments later, the same Cadillac passed in front of her and she headed west.
When she learned about the Trenton robbery, Croiser said she contacted Quinte West OPP and gave a description of the suspect’s vehicle.
“Without Croiser’s tip about the vehicle, there was not a lot to go on,” Watt told the Whig. “With that information, we were able to focus the investigation on that vehicle.”
On December 16, Drouin was arrested at the Trenton On Route along Highway 401 following robberies the same day in Cobourg and Bowmanville.
“When he was arrested, I was so relieved when I saw the gold Cadillac,” Croiser admitted to the Whig. “The last thing you want to do is send officers in the wrong direction.”
Croiser was later called into the Quinte West detachment by investigators for an interview.
“It was a unique experience,” she said. “You write about crime every day, but it was interesting to be on the other end of it; from an observing journalist to personally being invested in the story.”
Croiser said she also received a call from Quinte West OPP lead investigator Det. Kevin Postma following the arrest thanking her. Something she called a nice gesture.
Croiser graduated Loyalist College’s Advanced Journalism Online, Print and Broadcast program in 2013.
Our newsroom has reached out to reporter Steph Croiser, Det. Kevin Postma and Det. Blair Watt for comment.