Local briefs – July 7

Calls to Red Deer City RCMP remain fairly steady.



Suspended sentence for weapon offence

A former Red Deer man who was among a group of five arrested after police swooped in on a Pines home and seized nine weapons and a horde of stolen property last fall was sentenced on Monday.

Delmond Kroetsch, 29, was given an 18-month suspended sentence after pleading guilty to one count of possession of a prohibited weapon in Red Deer provincial court. Judge Catherine Skene also prohibited Kroetsch from owning weapons for 10 years.

The sentence was a joint submission from the Crown and defence lawyer Paul Morigeau. The Crown withdrew four other weapons charges and a charge of possession of stolen property.

Morigeau said that Kroetsch was in possession of a ceremonial knife but had no connection to any of the other weapons seized in the Oct. 30 bust at a home on Patterson Crescent. Police laid 117 charges against five people at the time and recovered a stash of illegal weapons, including sawed-off shotguns, sawed-off rifles, handguns and homemade martial arts weapons.

Morigeau said one of the other people arrested had already pleaded guilty to charges related to the other weapons seized.

Kroetsch has since moved from Red Deer and has been getting various qualifications to pursue an oilfield job.

In February, Billy Jack Williams, 36, of Red Deer pleaded guilty to five weapons-related charges in provincial court. He was sentenced to two years less a day in jail and given a lifetime weapons prohibition.

Thomas Willets, 48, of Red Deer was jailed for 10 months in March after pleading guilty to being in a vehicle in which an illegal firearm was found and possession of a prohibited weapon — a switchblade.

All charges were dropped against two other suspects.

Man fined $600 after grabbing police officer

A Fort McMurray man who grabbed an RCMP officer by his bulletproof vest and threatened him paid for losing his cool on Monday.

John David Carr, 31, pleaded guilty to assaulting a peace officer and was fined $600 by Red Deer provincial court Judge Catherine Skene.

Legal Aid Society of Alberta lawyer Murray Shack said Carr was arrested after getting into a heated argument in a Stettler hotel room with a woman with whom he had a past relationship. Other hotel patrons heard the racket and called police early Sunday morning.

Carr was taken into custody and got angry later that day when police would not release him because of an outstanding arrest warrant.

The warrant had been issued earlier because of a legal mix-up over some drunk driving charges. He did not know the charges had not been dealt with properly by an agent for his lawyer and a warrant was issued.

Told he would have to spend some more time in jail until his appearance in Red Deer court, he grabbed the officer’s vest and swore at him before he was restrained and put back in his cell.

Judge Skene said assaulting a police officer is a serious offence that usually merits more than a fine. She admonished Carr, who has no criminal record, for his behaviour. “I just find that incredibly stupid. I don’t mean to rub it in.”

Carr said he wanted to apologize to the police officer.

“I know I made a big mistake. I will now live with that mistake forever because I now have a criminal record.”

Carr was also fined $250 for violating an emergency protection order, which prohibited him from being within 100 metres of the woman.

RDC hires new director of applied research, innovation

Derek Gratz will take over as the director of applied research and innovation at Red Deer College.

Gratz comes to RDC after being the president and CEO of WestLink Innovation Network in Calgary and has experience as an instructor, entrepreneur, designer and innovator.

Gratz has 18 years of experience in early stage technology evaluation and development. He trained as a product designer and has worked as a product development consultant and also with technology and academic start-up companies.

In his new role at RDC, Gratz will work with local companies to address their research and innovation needs and also act as a resource for innovators on campus who are seeking assistance with patenting, industry sponsorship and collaboration.

Gratz takes over the position from Rick Tofani, who has left RDC to go to the Alberta Research Council as director of the Southern Alberta Operation, where he is developing new relationships and business opportunities for the council.

Roofing repair job leads to office building fire

A roofing job that went awry has been pinpointed as the cause of a fire on a downtown office building on Friday.

Fire investigator Al Robichaud said workers were replacing a roof on the four-storey building at 4406 Gaetz Ave. during the day and a roofing board got too hot and was inadvertently left smouldering when the crew left for the day about 5 p.m.

The roofing process involved heating up an asphalt-like product with a flame.

A fire alarm went off about 6:45 p.m. and Red Deer Emergency Services responded with two pumpers and an aerial truck.

The fire was knocked down about 7:20 p.m. Damage was mostly limited to the roof and ranged from $5,000 to $10,000.

No one was in the building at the time of the fire.

One fire-medic was taken to hospital as a precaution after suffering from minor injuries that appeared to be related to heat exhaustion.

Pink wagon train coming to Central Alberta

The Wild Pink Yonder wagon tour to raise money for breast cancer research is travelling through Central Alberta this week.

Horseback riders and wagons are encourage to join the wagon train that’s being led by what else — a pink wagon — pulled by a tractor.

The wagon left Cochrane on Saturday and is travelling 640 km on range roads to Josephburg near Fort Saskatchewan by July 24.

Breast cancer survivor Jane Hurl, 60, came up with the idea to put a pink wagon train on the road.

“Nobody can miss a pink wagon,” said Hurl who isn’t able to drive the wagon due to a freak accident while conditioning her horses.

Communities are competing to be the Pinkest Town in the West to win a country music concert.

For more information on where the action will take place in the communities on route people should call the local municipality or agriculture society.

The wagon will stop in Bowden on Wednesday, Innisfail on Thursday, Penhold on Friday, the Brunt Lake Auction Mart near Red Deer on Saturday, Blackfalds on Sunday and Lacombe on Monday.

For more information go to www.wildpinkyonder.com

City RCMP calls steady

Calls to Red Deer City RCMP remain fairly steady.

Police received 812 calls from June 29 to July 5, up slightly from 822 calls the week previous.

Crime statistics included:

• 37 assaults.

• 14 auto thefts.

• five residential break-ins.

• six business break-ins.

• 46 domestic violence complaints.

• 30 drug investigations.

• two robberies.

• eight fraud complaints.

• 57 mischief complaints.

• 35 suspicious persons, vehicles or activities complaints.

• 62 thefts.

• 61 victim service assistance requests.

Red Deer Rural RCMP June crime stats

Red Deer Rural RCMP received 513 calls for service in June.

Crime statistics included:

• 13 abandon vehicles.

• 18 assaults.

• nine break-ins

• 10 careless use of a firearm.

• two failure to stop or remain at an accident.

• 10 fraud or forged documents.

• eight impaired driving, driving while disqualified or roadside suspensions.

• 15 mischief complaints.

• four off-road vehicles violations.

• 48 stolen vehicle, robbery or theft.

• 120 traffic violations.

Statistics were provided by Maskepetoon Community Crime Watch Association.

Photo radar set up

Red Deer City RCMP traffic services will be on the streets with photo radar until July 15 at the following locations. Playgrounds include Davison Drive, Jewel Street, 57th Avenue, Boyce Street and McLean Street. Traffic corridors under surveillance include 40th Avenue, Taylor Drive, 50th Street, 22nd Street and 30th Avenue. RCMP reserve the option to change locations without notice.

For more on local events, see “Home Front” and “Switchboard” under the “Community” tab