Local briefs – December 21

An Edmonton man has been sent to a federal prison for two years after pleading guilty to several charges in Red Deer.

Edmonton man jailed over Red Deer charges

An Edmonton man has been sent to a federal prison for two years after pleading guilty to several charges in Red Deer.

David Labelle, 26, pleaded guilty to six charges, including failing to stop for police, unauthorized possession of firearms, theft, two counts of possession of stolen property and a driving offence when he appeared in provincial court late Friday.

Labelle was charged on Dec. 3 with stealing rifles during vehicle break-ins in West Park.

He had been in custody since his arrest.

Court heard that a witness observed Labelle checking the door handles of parked vehicles at about 6 a.m.

The suspect entered an unlocked vehicle and then returned to the vehicle he had been driving.

When police arrived, they saw a silver 1987 Toyota Camry turn into an alley.

When Labelle attempted to flee, he crashed into a hedge. He fled on foot but was found a few minutes later.

It was later determined that the car was stolen from Calgary a few hours earlier.

Police also recovered stolen property from the vehicle, including work tools, electronics and clothing. Two rifles were in the vehicle.

Calls to RCMP fall slightly

Calls for service to Red Deer City RCMP fell slightly last week.

During the week of Dec. 13 to 19, calls dropped to 717 from 728 the previous week.

Serious criminal domestic violence climbed to 35 from 27. Bylaw complaints grew to 139 from 129.

Other statistics last week included:

• 28 assaults

• Nine auto theft

• Eight break and enters

• 14 drug investigations

• 15 fraud

• 25 mischief

• Four robbery

• Four sexual assaults

• 20 suspicious person, vehicle or activity

• 40 thefts

Alberta raises vehicle collision damage reporting amount to $2000

As of Jan. 1, the amount of total property damage requiring a motorist to report a vehicle collision to a peace officer in Alberta goes from $1,000 to $2,000.

Alberta is responding to requests from enforcement agencies and the general public that want the current dollar damage limit raised.

Despite the increasing cost of vehicle repairs, the threshold has not changed in almost 20 years.

Any collisions that result in a fatality or personal injury must also be reported to police.

Collision reporting thresholds are set through the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators in co-operation with all Canadian jurisdictions.

This ensures comparability of statistics across Canada and allows for a better analysis of trends affecting traffic safety.

Other provinces will look at implementing the same change to property damage collision reporting threshold. Quebec has already raised its limit to $2,000.

For more information, visit www.transportation.alberta.ca.

If you have questions about what to do if you are involved in a collision, go to www.finance.alberta.ca/publications/insurance/info_consumer_auto_collision.html.

Same man believed to have robbed two liquor stores

Police believe the same man is responsible for armed robberies at two liquor stores in Red Deer on Dec. 17, says Const. Chris Kosack, a media liaison officer for the Red Deer City RCMP.

In the first incident, a man armed with a knife entered Cold Ones Liquor at 51st Avenue and 76th Street shortly after 7 p.m. and demanded cash. The clerk complied but the man left the store with cigarettes and none of the money he had sought, Kosack said on Monday.

The suspect was last seen on foot in Normandeau.

Then, just after 10 p.m., RCMP were called to an armed robbery at Cyrious Liquor, located at 58th Street and Gaetz Avenue.

Again, a man armed with a knife went into the store and demanded cash.

He fled after the clerk handed over an undisclosed amount of money.

The suspect was last seen on foot, heading north.

Police have very nearly identical descriptions of the suspects from both robberies, said Kosack.

The Cold Ones suspect is described as a Caucasian male, 30 to 35 years old, about 1.8 cm tall (six feet) and about 95 kg (210 pounds).

He was wearing a blue hooded sweater and grey sweat pants.

The description for the second suspect is a very close match, except he was wearing blue jeans instead of sweat pants, said Kosack.

Police hope to hear from anyone who may have information about the suspect. Call 403-343-5575. Those who with to remain anonymous can leave tips online at www.tipsubmit.com or call 1-800-222-8477.

Man could be declared dangerous offender

A Rocky Mountain House man who faces the possibility of being classified as a dangerous offender will be sentenced in January after pleading guilty last week to a Leduc robbery.

Shawn Thomas Evjen, 47, will be sentenced in Wetaskiwin court on Jan. 12 after pleading guilty on Friday in Wetaskiwin to robbing a Leduc bank in April 2009 while on parole from a federal jail sentence.

Court heard that Evjen picked the wrong time to rob the bank because a plainclothes RCMP officer was inside the bank and a retired officer was just outside the bank at the time.

The two officers teamed up to arrest the suspect.

The culprit was wearing a mask and packing a gun when he walked into a CIBC branch and ordered everyone down on the floor before demanding cash.

Evjen, who has a lengthy record, was sentenced in Red Deer court in October 2009 to 20 months in jail for escaping from Bowden Institution.

He was on parole after serving about 12 years of a 24-and-a-half-year sentence for armed robbery, assaulting a peace officer, wearing a disguise while committing an offence and possession of a weapon.

Evjen was recaptured about two weeks after his escape by Edmonton police during a traffic stop after they had received a tip.

Red Deer court that Evjen had two other escapes since he was first jailed in 1985 for robbery.

He was also convicted in 1991 and 1998 for robbery. Each robbery occurred shortly after he was released on parole.

The Criminal Code allows for the Crown to apply for a dangerous offender status after a fourth major offence.

Dangerous offender status allows authorities to jail a person for an indefinite period.

Hearing date set for man accused in murder of Olds College student

An early summer hearing date was set on Monday for a man charged with the murder of an Olds College student at the end of October.

Jeffrey Kevin Leinen, 24, of Calgary will have a three-day preliminary hearing beginning on June 28 in Didsbury provincial court on first-degree and drunk driving causing death and injury charges.

Leinen was charged after Olds College agriculture management student Nicholas Baier, 18, was struck by a pickup truck outside the Texas Mickey bar early on Oct. 29.

Baier died in hospital of blunt force trauma.

A second 19-year-old Olds College student was injured in the incident.

Preliminary hearings are held to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant the accused stand trial in Calgary Court of Queen’s Bench.

Leinen remains in custody.