National Post

What happened to beloved sports anchor?

- Jen Gerson

It was just after dinner, around the time the supper- hour news shows would be drawing to a close, that a large man wearing a red-and-black plaid jacket walked into a Medicine Hat RBC branch and demanded the teller hand over cash.

The employee complied and the robber fled.

The next day, just before noon, an individual who appeared to be the same man walked into a Bank of Montreal and did it again.

By Saturday, police had tracked down a suspect to a nearby hotel and arrested him without incident.

There were no weapons, and no acts of violence, but when grainy video footage of the suspect hit the news in Winnipeg, people were shocked.

Arrested was Steve Vogelsang, a longtime local sports anchor and news director for CKY, which became CTV Winnipeg. Vogelsang was an upbeat, affable character who went on to teach journalism at Red River College.

Vogelsang appeared in a Medicine Hat court on Tuesday and stands charged with two counts of robbery. The allegation­s have not been proven in court.

But according to court documents, the man who was once a pillar of the community and a beloved college instructor has seen his life spiral downward in recent years. Now divorced, facing several charges and foreclosur­e, Vogelsang was recently living out of his car.

“I thought: ‘ Man, he is in a dark place if he thinks this is something he had to do. He is in a very bad way,’ ” said former colleague Rick Fickes.

This is not the Vogelsang that Fickes remembers.

Fickes first met the former broadcaste­r in 1994, when he got a job working as a summer relief video editor at CKY.

There were three members of the outlet’s sports department, and Vogelsang was his favourite.

“He was a big, goofy, clowny guy. Always laughing, always with a story to tell. His writing was superb, light, easy to listen to and when we would start cutting video together, he would have funny comments, lightheart­ed jabs at the athletes we were watching. It really made the job enjoyable, working for him.”

As per the job, Vogelsang would routinely attend community and charity events, doing the local celebrity routine.

In 2002, Vogelsang left journalism to take a job at Red River College. Two years later, according to court documents obtained by CBC and the Winnipeg Free Press, the married Vogelsang allegedly began an on- againoff- again relationsh­ip with woman he met as a student, a relationsh­ip that would later become volatile, prompting the woman to file protection orders against him.

But to friends, nothing seemed to be amiss then.

By many accounts, Vogelsang was a tough but dedicated instructor.

“I thought he was great,” said Shelley Cook, a Winni- peg communicat­ions profession­al and former student. “He was hard, but I would liken him to the way a coach would be. … A lot of people credit their careers to him.”

Her classmates were surprised when he announced, in 2011, that he was quitting his job with the college to move with his wife to Nelson, B.C. Several even posted on Facebook and Twitter: #SteveDontL­eave.

Vogelsang ended the relationsh­ip with the former student when he quit his job at the college. According to court documents published by the Winnipeg Free Press, he and his wife subsequent­ly lost $85,000 on three properties they owned in Nelson.

Vogelsang moved back to Winnipeg in 2014 and he and his wife separated and, eventually, divorced.

He then faced a sexual assault charge, which was stayed: the details of that charge are unknown.

Vogelsang took back up with his former girlfriend about the same time he returned to Winnipeg, but he was in financial straits, unable to renew the mortgage or make payments on the Winnipeg home he once shared with his wife; his wife alleges he forged her signature in order to renew the loan.

The home was facing foreclosur­e in early October.

According to the girlfriend, whose name is protected by a publicatio­n ban, Vogelsang’s behaviour became abusive and erratic.

She filed for an emergency protection order earlier this year, which was allegedly violated three times.

Vogelsang began working part- time at Red River College again — although his employment has since been terminated, according to the college. Court documents show he had a plan to move to Vancouver Island and to offer keynote speeches about millennial­s.

However, the court documents from just prior to the robbery paint a dire financial picture.

An email to his ex- wife sent about a month ago, and included in evidence, read: “I have been staying in my truck regularly ... I cannot afford groceries so whatever food I have left from the lake will have to tide me over ... then I’ll steal food until I get an EI payment on Tuesday, Sept. 26. I cannot be expected to live like this.”

Vogelsang had many friends in Winnipeg, and Fickes said several dozen would have gladly chipped in to help get him out of trouble.

In the videos, the suspect doesn’t brandish any weapons, but he also makes no attempt to disguise himself. There is something odd about it, Fickes noted.

“I can think of it one of two ways. I can think it was a stunt to get his name in the news — but that was not Steve, not something he would do. The more likely scenario ... is that this is a very, very desperate man crying out for help.”

 ?? FACEBOOK- MEDICINE HAT POLICE SERVICE / THE CANADIAN PRESS ?? A suspect is seen in a screengrab from the Medicine Hat Police Service Facebook page. An ex- CTV Winnipeg news director and sports anchor has been arrested on robbery charges.
FACEBOOK- MEDICINE HAT POLICE SERVICE / THE CANADIAN PRESS A suspect is seen in a screengrab from the Medicine Hat Police Service Facebook page. An ex- CTV Winnipeg news director and sports anchor has been arrested on robbery charges.
 ??  ?? Steve Vogelsang
Steve Vogelsang
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