Two men suspected of stealing a snowmobile while drunk early Sunday morning were captured several hours apart by police who chased them using snowmobiles and a helicopter, according to The Governor of Svalbard.
The men, both 18, are accused of stealing the snowmobile from Huset sometime before 2:30 a.m., when police tried to give the pair a routine sobriety test, according to NRK. The men fled the officers, driving away from the edge of town toward Longyearbreen.
“We suspected that they drove in a drunk state, which could be risky to both themselves and others who were in the area,” Police Chief Lt. Vidar Arnesen told the news agency.
A helicopter search for the men was unsuccessful because the lights on the snowmobile were turned off, according to Arnesen. About two hours after the encounter with officers one of the men was found in the outdoor terrain and taken to Longyearbyen Hospital for a blood-alcohol test.
Ida Camilla Aluwini Skaar, responding to a local Facebook inquiry about why the helicopter was flying above Nybyen early in the morning, noted police had come by one of the old miner’s barracks – now used as tourist lodging and university student housing – asking “if we had seen a person on a snowmobile who shouldn’t be on a snowmobile.”
The other suspect was captured at about 9 a.m. at residence in Longyearbyen and also brought to a doctor for a blood-alcohol test.
Arnesen said it appears both men are visiting Longyearbyen and noted it’s common for people to leave keys in their snowmobiles, making them easy to steal.