Cottagers on the Trent-Severn Waterway, not far from Big Chute Marina, contended with 24 hours of mischief last week after Ontario Provincial Police arrested a 41-year-old man from Toronto who was causing disturbances in the area.
On September 5 around 12:04 p.m., the Southern Georgian Bay OPP detachment responded to a call about a neighbour disturbing several cottagers along John Buchler Road in Georgian Bay Township. Const. David Hobson said at present, OPP are unable to release information about what the man was doing.
By the time OPP arrived the accused, later identified as Thomas Dibaise, had jumped into the waters of Six Mile Channel, just off of John Buchler Road, and fled. With assistance from the OPP Marine Unit, officers found Dibaise approximately three hours later, still in the water, near Little Chute—south of Six Mile Channel.
Officers arrested Dibaise and charged him with mischief, which includes obstructing, interrupting, or interfering with the lawful use, enjoyment, or operation of a property. According to Hobson, examples of mischief can range from blasting excessive noise at inappropriate times to driving a Sea-Doo back and forth too close to someone’s dock—any action, within reason, that prevents an owner from enjoying their property.
Officers also charged Dibaise with escaping lawful custody, and six counts of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm. Officers released Dibaise, who was staying at a cottage in the area, under conditions, with the understanding that he would appear before the Ontario Court of Justice on October 27.
This, however, wasn’t the OPP’s last interaction with Dibaise. The next morning on Sept. 6, just before 8 a.m., emergency services received calls about a fire at the cottage Dibaise was staying at. OPP officers and the Georgian Bay Township Fire Service responded to the call. According to Hobson, there were no visible flames, but smoke billowed out of the cottage.
Fire services extinguished the smoke, but during that time, Dibaise fled the scene. OPP eventually found him driving along Whites Falls Road in Severn Township.
To safely halt the vehicle, OPP deployed a spike belt along the road, which punctured and deflated the tires of Dibaise’s vehicle. Officers arrested Dibaise again, charging him with a second count of mischief, dangerous operation of a vehicle, four counts of failure to comply, and stunt driving.
This time, officers did not release Dibaise after his arrest, instead transporting him to the Southern Georgian Bay OPP detachment where he remains in custody. Dibaise will appear before the Ontario Court of Justice at a future date.