An ex-convict and reality television contestant landed back behind bars over the weekend after he was accused of stealing a radio DJ’s car and sparking a low-speed chase in suburban Ottawa.
Police arrested Brian Miller, 27, early Sunday morning, and charged him with several theft-related offences, breaking and entering, and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle.
Mr. Miller was a runner-up on Redemption Inc., a CBC program hosted by venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary, in which 10 people with criminal records competed in various business-related challenges. The grand prize was a $100,000 investment for one of them to start their own company.
In the wee hours after St. Patrick’s Day, police allege, Mr. Miller broke into a series of vehicles in Stittsville, a residential neighbourhood on the capital’s southwestern outskirts. He also broke into two houses, they said.
Race, a host on local top 40 station Hot 89.9, said her 12-year-old stepson woke her up shortly before 5 a.m. to tell her an intruder was in the house. She saw the man driving off in her Hyundai Santa Fe, jumped into her husband’s Sonata and pursued him down the street.
“I just thought, ‘I can still see the car; I’m going to get it back.’ I just floored it,” recounted Race, who asked her real name not be printed. “He wasn’t driving very fast; he didn’t seem to be trying to get away.”
When the thief pulled over to light a cigarette, Race caught up and boxed him in. He reversed into a snowbank and, with the Santa Fe’s wheels stuck, jumped out and fled, hopping over fences as he made his escape.
When she got into her car, she found the man had adjusted the seat and even changed the radio station, Race said: “He had made himself right at home.”
Police alleged the intruder broke into more vehicles before they tracked him down, chased him a short distance on foot and arrested him. He had stolen property on him at the time, they alleged.
Mr. Miller appeared in court Monday and was released.
A father of three, Mr. Miller started drinking and taking drugs at the age of 13, according to a biographical sketch on the TV show’s website. He robbed a bank and a pizza delivery man, and spent time in prison. After he got out and cleaned up, he was picked to compete in the first season of Redemption Inc., where he hoped to land the startup money for a music store. On the show, he came across as dedicated and affable, making it to the final round of three contestants.
In a follow-up episode, filmed several months after the original series and aired earlier this month, Mr. Miller said he was living in social housing and struggling to stay sober. At the end of the show, however, he was offered a sales job with a transportation and logistics company.