Machetes are more intimidating than a knife and easier to get than a gun.
These large blades have been used in several Central Alberta crimes this month – including a horrific robbery in Springbrook this week that left a male victim, who was struck repeatedly with a machete-like weapon, with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Blackfalds RCMP report at about 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, a Springbrook man was robbed and attacked by several individuals who were armed with a firearm and “machete-style knife.”
RCMP are investigating the robbery that occurred on a rural road south of the Red Deer Airport. The male victim reportedly met a female through an online dating site and drove to this location. While sitting in his parked vehicle, the victim was approached by three suspects and attacked. The incident appeared to be a planned robbery.
The three suspects included two males and a female with a medium build.
Blackfalds RCMP Victim Services is providing support to the victim, who was repeatedly struck with a large blade.
After the attackers fled the scene, stealing his vehicle, the bleeding man walked into Springbrook for help. A motorist stopped to assist him, calling for emergency services. The victim was transported by ambulance to Red Deer Regional Hospital.
The RCMP is looking for a 2007 Black Dodge Nitro with the Alberta licence BDR0343. Police urge anyone with information to call the Blackfalds detachment at 403-885-3300, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (or www.tipsubmit.com).
Sgt. Whitney Benoit of Blackfalds RCMP said, so far, there have been very few cases in which victims have been grievously injured by machetes as these blades are not used often in rural crimes.
But machetes are becoming a fairly common aspect of many Red Deer crimes, said Corp. Karyn Kay, of the Red Deer RCMP. Two of these were publicized earlier this month:
— On Sept. 12, a 23-year-old man in the Anders neighbourhood of Red Deer was shot and attacked with a machete after trying to stop a male intruder who had broken into his garage. The victim was sent to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No arrest has yet been made.
— On Sept. 5, two male suspects threatened a Normandeau woman with a machete before stealing her car in Red Deer. The vehicle was recovered after it was crashed into a dumpster in Highland Green. Police are still looking for the two suspects.
Anyone with information about either of these crimes is asked to call Red Deer RCMP at 403-343-5575, or Crime Stopper at 1-800-222-8477.
While Kay feels the public should be aware that machetes are sometimes used as weapons, she doesn’t believe there’s general cause for alarm. In most cases, she believes machetes are used within the criminal world as weapons or for protection.
Unlike brass knuckles, which can only be used for assaults, machetes are not restricted. And police are not calling for their ban because the large blades have legitimate uses. They are sold at most outdoors stores to hunters and backwoods campers for brush clearing purposes.
Although machetes look scary, Kay said a pen or screwdriver can also put to lethal use. That’s why police officers treat all weapons as the same kind of threat, added the officer.