Blackfalds RCMP expect that another major stolen property bust at the same rural property has put an end to any illegal activities there.
“They blatantly continued to operate. We would go out in that rural area and vehicles would take off on us. There was stolen vehicles floating around the area on a regular basis. Finally we went in and took it to its final stage,” Blackfalds RCMP Staff Sgt. Ken Morrison said Tuesday.
On Sept. 9, the Priority Crimes Task Force conducted a search at the alleged chop shop property south of Clive, seizing more than $400,000 worth of property, including, among other things, a stolen $65,000 solar generator, four trucks, five motorcycles and six ATVs.
Many of the vehicles identifying VINs were altered and some of the vehicles were being disassembled.
Firearms and other weapons, ammunition, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, various unidentified pills, drug paraphernalia, tools and more than $10,000 in cash were also seized.
The property is located on Range Road 250 in Lacombe County. Task force members were supported in the search of the house and Quonset by Edmonton Air Services. The property was being rented. The actual property owner is being very co-operative, Morrison said.
Blackfalds RCMP have been actively investigating the property since last spring. A search warrant conducted there on March 23 resulted in the recovery of a stolen property valued at approximately $150,000.
After that, Blackfalds RCMP continued to conduct regular patrols of the property, recovering more stolen property and laying criminal charges against several individuals.
Earlier this month, the task force members was brought in to assist. They continue to investigate and further arrests and charges are pending.
Rural crime, including vehicle theft, has been an ongoing problem in Central Alberta.
“This will put a nail on one avenue of it, absolutely. I’m not naive enough to say that it is the end of it. There’s others out there working and we continue get the public’s help in tips. … The public was fantastic and worked together with us and provided a lot of good key information to help us go into the property and take it down,” Morrison said.
The task force includes members from Red Deer RCMP General Investigative Section, Sylvan Lake, Innisfail, Blackfalds, Ponoka and Rocky Mountain House RCMP detachments and Lacombe Police Service. It shares criminal intelligence and focuses on prolific property crimes offenders.
After the most recent bust, police have charged a 35-year-old Lacombe County man with numerous Criminal Code offences, including seven counts of possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000; three counts of possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000; possession of an illegal substance; and possession of an illegal substance for the purpose of trafficking.
He was released on a recognizance and is scheduled to appear in Red Deer provincial court on Sept. 21.