Rash of rural truck thefts
RCMP advise residents to lock up their valuables
Westlock RCMP have had a busy week, with a rash of vehicle thefts and stolen vehicles recovered in Westlock County.
Between July 27 and Aug. 10, eight vehicles were stolen from Westlock County properties south of Highway 18. Six have been recovered, along with seven vehicles that had been stolen from other jurisdictions.
“We have had calls from all areas, mostly south of Westlock,” Cpl. Sandra Milner said.
Police have made several arrests to these thefts, but she said there is no indication those suspects are responsible for all the thefts, or if the suspects are working together.
Police are still looking for three stolen trucks: two from Westlock and one from Barrhead, as well as an ATV.
The three vehicles are described as a 2011 grey Dodge Ram, with Alberta licence plate number BDM-9889, a 2012 beige Dodge 3500, Alberta licence plate CLE-797 and a red Honda Trx 500 Foremost ATV. The vehicle stolen from Barrhead is described as a 2010 blue Dodge 3500, Alberta licence plate ZHR-051.
Police continue to investigate, but ask people to be aware that there have been many thefts in the area and to take all due precautions.
“I think everyone should be cautious, locking up their vehicles and belongings, and also being alert for anything that looks out of place,” Milner said.
Having this many vehicle thefts in such a short period of time is relatively rare for the Westlock RCMP, but it’s not unheard of.
“We go weeks without any vehicle thefts; this is not normal at all,” she said. “In the fall of 2010, there was a lot of activity in this county, Barrhead, Athabasca and Redwater, with thefts of vehicles. That group was arrested by the end of the year and things slowed down.”
Although some, if not all of the people ultimately found responsible for those thefts have completed their sentences and been released, Milner said there is no indication they might be involved in the recent rash. However, she’s not ruling anything out.
The success police have had in recovering the vehicles and making the arrests they have made is due in large part to help from members of the public.
“Certainly local citizens have helped by calling in suspicious activity going on — suspicious people and suspicious vehicles in the area,” she said.
Police have laid charges against several people.
Two males were arrested north of Westlock on the afternoon of Aug. 10, where police recovered a vehicle reported stolen out of Whitecourt. They are awaiting bail hearings.
Two people were arrested near Villeneuve on Aug. 3. Tyler Houle, 32, and Neall Langerud, 34, have both been charges with obstructing a peace officer, possession of stolen property and breaching release conditions.
On July 28 at about 8 p.m., police made two arrests in the Westlock Inn parking lot after finding a stolen vehicle full of property stolen from a break-and-enter in Morinville the previous night. Jason Dunn, 29, and Kathy MacDonald-Clarke, 28, have been charges with possession of stolen property.
Anyone with information about these or other crimes is asked to phone the RCMP at 780-349-4491 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
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