Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Policing in Alberta to December 17, 2014

Fatal MVC on Hwy 1 near Dunmore
Pedestrian fatality on Hwy 1 near Cochrane
Fatal MVC near Mayerthorpe
Fatal MVC near Carstairs
Fatal Tofield MVC
Drugs and guns seized at St. Albert traffic stop
Death of Patrick Whidden ruled homicide
Spruce Grove area MVC
Drug dealers arrested in Hinton and Jasper
Red Deer RCMP look for laptop thief
Mother and son duo plead guilty to Ponzi scheme
Innisfail charity checkstop raises over $12 thousand
St. Albert donation box theft suspects sought
Don't let scammers ruin your holiday
Airdrie skate park vandals sought
Designer handbags stolen from Calgary store
Calgary Fire crews extricate woman from rollover

Fatal MVC on Hwy 1 near Dunmore

Redcliff RCMP

On December 16, 2014 at approximately 5:10 pm Emergency Services attended a collision between a semi and pickup truck on Highway 1 westbound approximately 2 kilometres east of Dunmore, Alberta. Members of the Redcliff RCMP Detachment, RCMP Traffic Unit, Alberta Commercial Vehicle Enforcement, Medicine Hat and Cypress County Fire Departments, and EMS responded to the scene. The subsequent investigation revealed the semi was traveling east bound on Highway 1 and was attempting to turn north into a weigh scale station. The semi crossed the westbound lanes of highway 1 into the path of the westbound pickup truck which collided with the semi trailer.

The driver and lone occupant of the pickup truck, a 50 year old man from Medicine Hat, died at the scene. The driver of the semi was not injured. An RCMP Collision Reconstructionist was called and attended to assist with the investigation. It was determined that speed, drugs and alcohol and road conditions were not factors in the collision. The driver of the semi, a 74 year old man from Thunder Bay, Ontario, was charged under the Traffic Safety Act with failing to turn left safely.

The westbound lanes of Highway 1 were re-opened at approximately 12:00 am.

Pedestrian fatality on Hwy 1 near Cochrane

Cochrane RCMP

At approximately 6: 00 am on December 13, 2014 a 35 year old male pedestrian was hit by a passing motorist on Highway # 1 approx 1 km west of Highway # 22 south of Cochrane, Alberta. The man, who's identity is being withheld at the request of the family, was walking west in the westbound lane of Highway # 1 when he was struck by a passing motorist. He was pronounced deceased at the scene. The operator of the motor vehicle was shaken, but not injured. Weather at the time was heavy snow and roads were wet. Alcohol or speed are not considered to be contributing factors.

Today seems like a good time to remind all motorists to be careful when you are out on the roads this winter. Arriving to your destination a few minutes later is better than not arriving at all. Motorists owe it to themselves, their families and their friends. The RCMP remind drivers to drive according to the road conditions, and to be especially mindful your speed and be vigilant of yours and others personal safety this holiday season.

Fatal MVC near Mayerthorpe

Mayerthorpe RCMP

 At approximately 12:30 pm. on Monday December 15th, Mayerthorpe RCMP were dispatched to a two vehicle motor vehicle collision at the intersection of Highway 43 and Range Road 80 in the County of Lac Ste. Anne.

The male driver of a Ford pick up truck was travelling west bound on Highway 43. The male driver of a Dodge pick up truck travelling south bound on Range Road 80, allegedly failed to yield, and crossed into the path of the westbound pickup truck.

Both occupants of the Dodge pickup truck, a male and female, died as a result of the collision. The male driver and lone occupant of the Ford pickup truck was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

RCMP say weather and road conditions are being considered as contributing to the collision, and believe alcohol was not a factor.

Further information is currently not being released, as RCMP continue to notify family and friends of the deceased. RCMP are continuing their investigation.

Fatal MVC near Carstairs

Didsbury RCMP

At 7:30 am on December 15 Crossfield Fire, Provincial EMS and Didsbury RCMP were notified of a two vehicle collision 7 kms south of Carstairs on Highway 2A. A red 1994 Oldsmobile car had been travelling southbound, when it crossed center and collided head on with a northbound 2013 white Ford truck. The driver and sole occupant of the car, a 40 year old Strathmore man, was found deceased at the scene. The truck's 25 year old driver from Edmonton and 20 year old passenger from Kelowna were both uninjured.

The RCMP Collision Analyst from Calgary attended. Alcohol, weather and road conditions are not believed to be contributing factors. The deceased's name is being with held at the request of the family.

Fatal Tofield MVC

Tofield RCMP

Shortly before 9:00 am December 16 a pickup truck travelling westbound on Highway 14 collided with another westbound vehicle,  a trailer being hauled by a service truck in the eastbound lane, before colliding with a eastbound semi. The semi was heavily damaged and remained on Highway 14 on the southeast side of Tofield for a time.  As a result, traffic was rerouted through the area while the investigation continued with the assistance of the collision analyst. A 70 year old Roundhill man was killed in the collision and pronounced deceased at the scene.

Family has requested his name not be released pending notification of next of kin.

At the scene Tofield RCMP were assisted by Tofield Fire and Rescue, Collision Analyst, Carillion Highways crew and Beaver County Victim Services.

This matter remains under investigation by Tofield RCMP.

Drugs and guns seized at St. Albert traffic stop

St. Albert RCMP

On December 2, 2014, at approximately 2:30 pm, a St. Albert RCMP Traffic officer stopped a 2006 blue Kia car for failing to yield to a female pedestrian who was trying to cross St. Anne Street at the intersection with Perron Street. The pedestrian had to stop and cross the street after the car passed by. When the RCMP officer stopped the Kia car, the male driver and lone occupant of the car was found to have a quantity of marijuana in the front of the car and two very real looking handguns in the backseat. One gun with a brown handle looked exactly like a Walther PPK while the black gun looked like a .357 Magnum. Closer inspection of the handguns determined that these weapons were in fact pellet guns.

The driver, an 18 year old male of St Albert received a 24 hour suspension from driving and has been charged with:
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance - Section 4(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
  • Failing to Yield to Pedestrian at an Intersection, Section 52(1) UHROR.
The Information has not been sworn as of yet, thus the driver's name cannot be released at this time. He will be appearing in St Albert court on February 23, 2015.

"Smoking marijuana and driving creates impaired drivers and endangers us all." Said Cpl Laurel Kading with the St. Albert RCMP Community Policing Unit, "but having real looking handguns is also very dangerous."

If a pellet gun is used in a dangerous manner, or carried in places that cause fear in citizens, police have to act as if the weapon is real which could mean being arrested at gunpoint or worse. Police may use lethal force if a weapon is used dangerously. In this traffic stop, the handguns were not used in a threatening manner so no potentially lethal police action was required. 

In the last few years, the St. Albert RCMP have encountered several cases of people carrying pellet guns in public. The RCMP are concerned that this trend may have disastrous consequences at some point. Please teach all family members proper gun safety rules - even when using pellet guns. It is important to know that it is illegal to discharge a pellet gun within St. Albert city limits as per St. Albert By-Law 11/63.

Death of Patrick Whidden ruled homicide

Edson RCMP

On December 14th, 2014, the RCMP recovered the body of 25 year old Patrick Whidden in a rural field located near the town of Peers outside of Edson, AB.

Edson RCMP, RCMP Major Crimes Unit with the assistance of Whitecourt has been investigating his disappearance since he was reported missing on December 7, 2014

An autopsy was completed on December 15th, 2014, the Medical Examiner has ruled the cause of death as homicide, the manner of death will not be released, at this time.

RCMP are asking anyone with information about Whidden's disappearance or whereabouts prior to his death, to contact the Edson RCMP 780-723-8822 or Crimestoppers for anonymous tips at 1-800 222 8477.

Spruce Grove area MVC

RCMP Alberta Media Relations
On December 15 an SUV was Southbound on Range Road 273, pulling out to turn East onto Highway 627, when it was struck by an eastbound one-tonne cube van. The man driving the SUV was air-lifted by STARS to an Edmonton hospital, in critical condition. The two men in the cube van were transported by ground ambulance with minor injuries.

It appears that neither road conditions nor alcohol/drugs were factors in this collision.

Drug dealers arrested in Hinton and Jasper

RCMP Alberta Media Relations

Hinton and Jasper RCMP, in partnership with Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) completed a two-week project targeting street level drug traffickers within the towns of Hinton and Jasper.
ALERT Edmonton and Grande Prairie assisted the detachments with addressing community concerns over drug trafficking. As a result of the investigation, six people were arrested and investigators seized quantities of methamphetamine, cocaine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, psilocybin, and marihuana.

“This is a tremendous example of police agencies working together to tackle issues, such as drug trafficking, that jeopardizes the health and well-being of our communities,” said RCMP S/Sgt Mark Fitzgerald.

The following individuals have been charged:
  • Jason Currie, 41, of Hinton – 6 counts of Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking in a controlled substance which included cocaine, methamphetamine, Fentanyl, Morphine, Oxycodone and Psilocybin. As well as 3 weapons related offences and Possession of Property Obtained by Crime.
  • Annie Meunier, 47, of Hinton – 6 counts of Possession for the Purpose of Trafficking in a controlled substance which included cocaine, methamphetamine, Fentanyl, Morphine, Oxycodone and Psilocybin. As well as 3 weapons related offences and Possession of Property Obtained by Crime.
  • Steven Boudreau, 31, of Hinton – 1 count of Trafficking Cocaine
  • Bryan Brown, 20 of Hinton – 1 count of Trafficking Cocaine and 1 count of Possession of Property Obtained by Crime.
  • Theodore Vena, 28 of Jasper – 1 count of Trafficking Cocaine, 1 count of Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking and 1 count of Possession of Property Obtained by Crime.
  • Donald Roop, 36, of Jasper - 1 count of Trafficking Cocaine, 1 count of Possession of Cocaine for the Purpose of Trafficking and 1 count of Possession of Property Obtained by Crime.
Currie, Meunier, Boudreau and Brown have their first appearance in Hinton Provincial Court on December 17, 2014.

Vena will have his first appearance in Jasper Provincial Court on January 22, 2015.

Roop will have his first appearance in Jasper Provincial Court on January 8, 2015.

Red Deer RCMP look for laptop thief

Red Deer RCMP

RCMP are looking for public assistance to identify a woman who stole a laptop from Future Shop shortly before 5 pm on November 20. The woman entered the store at 4:30 pm and discussed the laptop with staff; when the laptop was taken to the till for payment, the woman grabbed it and ran from the store to a waiting vehicle. RCMP do not have a description of the vehicle, but were able to obtain an image of the suspect from the store’s surveillance cameras.

If you can identify the suspect in the attached photo, please call Red Deer RCMP at 403.343.5575. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.8477 or report it online at

Lethbridge other and son duo plead guilty to Ponzi scheme

RCMP Alberta Media Relations

On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, Lethbridge residents, Anthony Pittarelli a 45-year-old man and his mother, Marisa Pittarelli (also known as Giovanna Campanelli-Pittarelli), 66-years of age, both pled guilty to seven counts of fraud.

The charges related to an investment fraud scheme where people were invited to invest in an entertainment event ticket reselling business. Tickets to popular events, such as concerts or sporting events were claimed to be bought and resold at a profit to investors. In reality, there was no ticket reselling business. Instead, the money of the people who were deliberately deceived by the Pittarelli’s was used to repay earlier investors who had also been lied to. Some of the money taken from these people was used for the personal gain of Anthony and Marisa Pittarelli. This type of criminal defrauding of people is what is commonly known as a Ponzi scheme.

The guilty pleas are in relation to seven victims who collectively lost over $1.3 million, and sentencing is scheduled for April 20, 2015, in Lethbridge.

Inspector Gord Sereda, Officer in Charge of the RCMP’s Integrated Market Enforcement Team and Financial Integrity based in Calgary (also known as IMET) said, "Too many people fall victim to these schemes every year. This investigation is one of several investment fraud investigations brought to court by IMET and Financial Integrity in recent years" says Insp. Gord Sereda. "Recent investment fraud and Ponzi scheme cases we've investigated that have gone to court have affected hundreds of investors who lost many millions of dollars. We hope that through awareness, prevention, investigation and disruption, IMET and Financial Integrity can help reduce the number of people whose financial futures are put in serious jeopardy by falling victim to these schemes."

Throughout this successful investigation and prosecution, the RCMP worked in close collaboration with partner agencies, and would like to note the contribution of and thank the following:
  • Alberta Justice, Specialized Prosecutions Branch
  • Alberta Securities Commission
  • Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC)
  • Lethbridge Regional Police Service
  • Public Prosecution Service of Canada
  • Public Works Forensic Accounting Management Group (FAMG)
The IMET mandate is to prevent, investigate and support the prosecution of serious Criminal Code capital market fraud offences that are of regional or national significance and that threaten investor confidence or the economic stability of Canada. Maintaining investor confidence in Canada’s publicly traded companies, capital markets and other investments is crucial in today’s economic environment. This mandate is now falls under the RCMP “K” Division Financial Integrity Team in Calgary.

The RCMP’s capital market investigative resources may be comprised of: highly specialized RCMP investigators, Public Prosecution Service of Canada legal advisors, securities regulators, representatives of other federal enforcement agencies, law enforcement agencies of local jurisdiction, forensic accountants, and various support staff.

Further information about the RCMP Integrated Market Enforcement Teams can be found at:

Further information about Investment and Security frauds can be found at

Innisfail charity checkstop raises over $12 thousand

RCMP Alberta Media Relations

The Innisfail Charity Checkstop took place this past weekend and due to the generosity of the community it was our most successful yet. A total of $12,162.03 in cash and cheques were raised which is $531.00 more than our previous best. Additionally over 2 truck loads of toys, 1 truck loads of clothes and 775 pounds of food were also donated by the citizen's of Innisfail and surrounding area.
In this season of giving and celebrating we are proud to provide as much help as we can to those less fortunate.
The charitable organizations that the money and items will be provided to are the Innisfail Food Bank, the Christmas Bureau, Women's Outreach Society and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Innisfail.

Innisfail RCMP would like to thank the following local business's for providing donations: Nestle Purina, CO-OP, 7-11, A&W, Dairy Queen, Subway, Tim Horton's, Innisfail ESSO, McDonalds, and the Innisfail Legion.

We would also like to acknowledge the numerous volunteer's without whom this event would not be possible which include representatives from: Victim Services, Innisfail Fire Department, Guardian Ambulance, Innisfail Peace Officers, Innisfail Restorative Justice, The Christmas Bureau, The Food Bank, Women's Outreach. We would also like to thank Richard FOESIER for being our Santa Clause and S.O.S. entertainment for providing the Christmas Music.

St. Albert donation box theft suspects sought

St. Albert RCMP

On December 8th, 2014 at approximately 2:24 a.m. an unknown male entered the 7-11 store located on St. Anne Street, St. Albert, and attempted to take the donation box off the store counter. The unidentified male placed the donation box back on the counter after being spooked. Later on at approximately 11:23 pm on the same day a second unidentified male entered the store and distracted the clerk at the back of the store while a third unidentified male entered the store and obtained the donation box and then exited the store. At this time, the second unidentified male left the store without purchasing anything. Police believe that the first unidentified male and the third unidentified male are the same person, due to the similarities observed from the video surveillance footage. The charity the donation box belongs to has not been identified at this time.

Donation box theft suspects
St. Albert RCMP are looking for your help to solve this crime. If you have any information about this theft or any crime call the St. Albert RCMP at 780-458-7700, or if you wish to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers. At Crime Stoppers, you do not need to reveal your identity. Crime Stoppers does not subscribe to Call Display, Call Trace, nor does it tape any phone calls. If your information leads to an arrest, you qualify for a cash award up to $2,000.00. We want your tip, not your name. Call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).

Don't let scammers ruin your holiday

St. Albert RCMP would like to remind the public that with the Christmas season approaching, to be on alert for scammers and identity thieves. Christmas time is open season for these types, however, the holiday season is particularly filled with scams and identity theft schemes that will quickly take away your holiday spirit unless you're careful.

Here are the top 5 scams the were reported to St. Albert RCMP this fall.
Romance scam - This time of year can be lonely for some people. Fraudsters steal photos and use dating sites and social media to lure potential victims into sending money for various reasons. The fraudsters have shown that they are willing to develop the relationship over an extended period of time; this increases the trust level between the victim and the fraudster which results in the victim usually losing more money.
Grandparents scams - In the typical scenario, a grandparent receives a phone call from a con-artist claiming to be one of his or her grandchildren. The caller goes on to say that they are in some kind of trouble and need money immediately. Typically they claim being in a car accident, trouble returning from a foreign country or they need bail money.

Anti-Virus scams - This Scheme involves company representatives calling individuals and stating, for example, that it is Microsoft calling and that their computer has viruses. They offer to repair the computer over the internet, which can involve the installation of software or the customers allowing the representatives remote access to their computer. Payment for the software or repair service is handled via credit card, Western Union, debit card or Paypal.

Cheque overpayment scams - in this type of scam, you are sent a cheque for something you have sold but the cheque is made out for more than the agreed amount. The scammer hopes that you will refund the extra money before noticing that the cheque has bounced.

Lottery scam - Like other "too good to be true" scams, lottery scams offer the victim great wealth in exchange for paying taxes and other processing fees up-front.

These are just a few of the current trends. Some websites to visit to get up to date information on the latest scams are:

Never give out personal information online and never leave your wallet or personal information in your vehicle. Scammers are looking for your personal information, to effectively steal your identity, and obtain credit, goods and services in your name.

Airdrie skate park vandals sought

Airdrie RCMP are seeking assistance from the public to identify two suspects who vandalized the concession stand at the Chinook Winds Skate Park.

On October 12, 2014 at approximately 9:30pm, a security member working in the Chinook Winds Skate Park witnessed a black vehicle speed out of the park. The security member investigated and found fresh graffiti on the concession stand. Witnesses in the area stated two males had covered their faces and spray-painted the stand, then left quickly in the black vehicle.

Airdrie RCMP was contacted and video surveillance was collected. The surveillance shows one male wearing a white balaclava spray-painting the concession stand and another male wearing a black hoodie recording the incident with a cellphone.

Airdrie RCMP is requesting that anyone with any information regarding this incident please contact the Airdrie RCMP or Crime Stoppers.

If you have information, please call the Airdrie RCMP at 403-945-7267. If you want to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or by internet at You do not have to reveal your identity to Crime Stoppers, and if you provide information to Crime Stoppers that leads to an arrest(s), you may be eligible for a cash reward.
Grande Prairie ITU continues to focus on impaired drivers

Grande Prairie RCMP Integrated Traffic Services

RCMP members of the Grande Prairie Integrated Traffic Unit (ITU) continue to focus on the RCMP's national priority of apprehending impaired drivers during the month of December with a number of arrests and roadside suspensions over the past weekend.
On December 13, 2014 the RCMP members of the Grande Prairie ITU conducted multiple roving and static check stops in the rural areas of Sexsmith, Beaverlodge and the City of Grande Prairie. The following is the summary of the impaired driving related investigations that were a result of this enforcement initiative:
Impaired drivers x 4
24 hour suspensions x 4
RCMP members of the Grande Prairie ITU will continue to conduct roving and static check stops throughout the month of December.  Apprehending impaired drivers is always a top priority of the Integrated Traffic Units throughout the Province. Impaired driving is the leading cause of criminal death in Canada. Police Officers from all from all of the ITU's in the province Alberta are always searching out impaired drivers, day and night.  If you drink, do not get behind the wheel.  It's not worth the risk.   
Motorists are encouraged to call 911 from a hands free phone if they suspect they are following an impaired driver.

The Integrated Traffic Units consists of RCMP Traffic Services members and Sheriff Highway Patrol officers working together in a collaborative effort to deliver effective and efficient traffic safety services to Albertans, with a focus on identified enforcement priorities
"Working Together for Safe Highways" 

Designer handbags stolen from Calgary store

The Calgary Police Service is seeking public assistance in relation to the theft of numerous designer handbags.

At approximately 2 am on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, two men smashed the north facing glass window of Holt Renfrew, located at 510 8 Avenue S.W., gaining entry into the store. Once inside the store the men stole a number of Gucci and Louis Vuitton handbags.

Damage to the store is estimated at $10,000.

Anyone who may have recently purchased brand new, authentic Louis Vuitton or Gucci handbags for a considerable discount, is asked to contact police.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call police at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers anonymously using any of the following methods:
TALK: 1-800-222-8477
TEXT: tttTIPS to 274637
CASE #14484951

Calgary Fire crews extricate woman from rollover

Calgary Fire Department

Just before 6:00pm on December 16 the Calgary Fire Department extricated a sole female occupant from a three vehicle motor vehicle collision at Glenmore Trail and Centre Street South. On-scene Alberta Health Services personnel subsequently transported her in non life threatening condition to an area hospital. No other injuries were reported as a result of this collision.

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