ALERT’s Southeast Alberta Property Crime unit has recovered almost $1 million in stolen campers and trailers — including equipment from Lacombe and Red Deer.
Two campers and a cargo trailer were stolen from Lacombe. Of those, a stolen Reflection camper was recovered in Hope, B.C., and a cargo trailer and Keystone camper were recovered in Brock, Sask.
A Jayco camper stolen in Red Deer was recovered in Cypress County.
An elevation trailer stolen in Redcliff was recovered in Sylvan Lake.
During the investigation, ALERT recovered a total of 13 stolen holiday travel trailers, and other stolen vehicles and property, worth an estimated $970,000.
Thefts date as far back as December 2020 and spread across the western provinces. A number of trailers were purchased at steep discounts, and were already in the possession of a third-party.
ALERT alleged two Medicine Hat men were involved in the thefts, and fraudulently re-vinned the trailers before being re-sold. A search of one of the suspect’s homes yielded materials for making fraudulent VIN stickers.
“This was a complex, coordinated scheme that undoubtedly ruined many family’s summer vacation plans. However, the impact of organized crime extends beyond the victim, and is a cost that society collectively bears,” said ALERT CEO Supt. Dwayne Lakusta.
ALERT believes there are still numerous stolen trailers outstanding, and the investigation is ongoing. If anyone believes they may have unknowingly purchased a stolen trailer, contact ALERT’s Southeast Alberta Regional Property Crime unit at 403-529-8481.
ALERT said its investigation relied on the assistance of Service Alberta, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), Medicine Hat Police, and various RCMP detachments.
“Vehicle theft is a serious issue that affects us all through higher insurance premiums and can also be a risk to personal safety. Insurance Bureau of Canada is pleased to have been involved in this investigation and we congratulate ALERT for their success in recovering the stolen property,” said Sid Kingma, director in Investigative Services, Western and Pacific Region, of IBC.
Charges have been laid against Nathan Herter, 36, who was arrested in Medicine Hat on June 18, and charged with theft over $5,000, possession of break and enter tools, suspended driving, and possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking.
Mathew Hillier, 36, was arrested in Hope, B.C. on June 29, 2021 and charged with theft over $5,000 and possession of stolen property.
ALERT continues to investigate and is not ruling out additional charges.