New charges laid in alleged escort scam

One of three suspects from an alleged escort scam in Red Deer has been arrested on new charges.

One of three suspects from an alleged escort scam in Red Deer has been arrested on new charges.

Early in the afternoon on Wednesday, Sylvan Lake RCMP arrested two suspects after responding to complaints of a suspicious vehicle broken down in the area of the Rainy Creek Road and Range Road 31, about eight km northwest of Eckville.

The caller reported seeing one of the two men with the disabled car break into a barn and steal a dirt bike.

Investigators determined that the car, a Dodge Challenger, had been stolen in Blackfalds earlier in the day and was later involved in the theft of fuel from an Esso gas station in Sylvan Lake, said Cpl. James Allemekinders of the Sylvan Lake RCMP.

One suspect was arrested at the scene. The second suspect was located and arrested on the Aspelund Road, about midway between Sylvan Lake and Blackfalds, with help from Lacombe County Patrol and Blackfalds RCMP.

Police say they recovered a small amount of jewelry that they believe was stolen during a recent house break-in.

Florian Edward Poitra, 31, of Red Deer and Jesse Bissonnette, 28, of Blackfalds are jointly charged with possession of stolen property worth $5,000 or more, theft of property worth less than $5,000, and break and enter, as well as various breaches of release conditions.

Poitra, who was on bail in connection with earlier charges, was also charged with possession of heroin.

Poitra is one of three people arrested in Kamloops, B.C., earlier this year by police investigating reports of an escort scheme in which men were lured online in Red Deer and then beaten and robbed.

Already scheduled to return to court on Sept. 13 in connection with the earlier charges, Poitra remains in custody on the new charges pending a bail hearing on Sept. 19.

Bissonnette was charged with assault in addition to the offences for which he and Poitra are jointly charged.

Bissonnette remains in custody pending a bail hearing set for Sept. 13.