Friday, August 31, 2012

Followed a Tip - Made Arrests, Tougher Drinking Laws, Distracted Driving Tickets

LRPS Busy Giving Out Distracted Driving Tickets

 Regional Police have given out close to 900 distracted driving tickets in the last 12 months.
[CJOC News] The Lethbridge Regional Police Service has been busy this past year giving out tickets for distracted driving. Since last September, Police have issued 893 tickets, the overwhelming majority (878) for people talking on or using hand-held cell phones. A few tickets were also given out for things like reading, writing, and grooming while driving. People are being reminded the fine for distracted driving is $172.

Police remind all motorists that while operating a vehicle in Alberta drivers are prohibited from:
* Talking on a hand-held cell phone
* Texting/emailing
* Using electronic devices such as laptops, video games, cameras, video entertainment displays and programming portable audio players
* Manually entering information on GPS units
* Reading printed material or writing/sketching
* Personal grooming
* Using a hand-held radio communication device

Tougher Drinking and Driving Laws Start this Weekend

Stiffer penalties for drinking and driving come into effect this weekend here in Alberta.
[CJOC News] Tougher drinking and driving penalties in Alberta kick in this weekend. Starting September 1st, Drivers caught with a blood alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.08 will receive an immediate three day licence suspension and a three day vehicle seizure.
Sergeant Craig Deimuth with the Lethbridge Regional Police Traffic Unit says the hope is this new legislation will make our roads even safer. He says people will take responsibility for their actions and monitor how much they've had to drink.
Prior to these changes, drivers with a blood alcohol level between 0.05 and 0.08 received only a 24 hour licence suspension. 

Joint CPS and SCAN Operation Leads to Arrests

[Alberta Police Report] The Calgary Police Service, in partnership with ALERT’s Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit, has shuttered three homes on the same block that were allegedly being used to traffic drugs.

Stock Image
On Thursday, Aug. 23, 2012, investigators, following up on a tip from the public, executed search warrants on three residences in the 1400 block of 43 Street N.E. Members of the CPS Tactical Unit encountered three people – one in each of the homes – who were arrested and charged with the trafficking of drugs.
Various quantities of crack cocaine, codeine, morphine, and Oxycodone were seized from the homes, along with $44,000 cash, drug paraphernalia, swords, knives, and other weapons.
It is alleged drugs were being sold directly from these homes, causing significant concern for community members and neighbours, as well as law enforcement.
In addition to the warrants, SCAN issued warning letters to the property owners. If the property owners don’t comply with the warning letters and put an end to the alleged illegal activity on the property, SCAN has the ability to use civil legislation to seek a Community Safety Order (CSO) to shut the house down and remove the residents. The owners of the properties have been co-operative and have issued eviction notices to their tenants.
Raymond Michael CARIGNAN, 51, Scott McKay DUGUAY, 50, and Glenn JONES, 57, all of Calgary, face multiple drug and weapons-related charges.
The CPS and SCAN continue to encourage the public to be the eyes and ears of their community. If you see suspicious behaviour, call the police. Albertans who suspect a property in their neighbourhood is being used for illegal activity can also contact SCAN toll-free at 1-866-960-SCAN (7226) or online at All complaints are confidential.
The CPS and SCAN are committed to working with communities to maximize public safety in Calgary.
By E. Poole
Calgary Police Service

Monday, August 20, 2012

Damage to Laundry Machines, Fractured Rib in Robbery, Pellet Gun Incident

Around $2500 in Damage to Laundry Machines

[Lethbridge News Aug 20, 2012] Around 12:16 this morning, a property manager of a multi-family building along Temple Boulevard West was notified by a tenant that the laundry machines had been broken into. In total, 5 machines were broken into. The coin boxes were damaged and an undetermined amount of money was taken. It is estimated that the damage to each machine is around $500.

Male Received Fractured Rib During Robbery

[Lethbridge News Aug 19, 2012] Lethbridge Regional Police are investigating a report of a robbery that occurred in the 1200 block of 1st Avenue South.
The victim of the robbery reported to police that around 1:30 this morning, he left a drinking establishment in the area and was assaulted by 3 unknown males who stole an undisclosed amount of money from him.
The victim was transported to hospital, where he was treated for a fractured rib and released.
Anyone who has information that would help police identify the subjects responsible for this incident should contact police at 403.328.4444 or Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.TIPS.

Still No Lawyer for Woman Accused in local Home Invasion

[CJOC News -Bryan Jeannotte Aug 17, 2012] One of the women charged in connection with a local home invasion remains in custody and still doesn't have a lawyer.
27 year old Cheyenne Sue Williams made a brief appearance in Lethbridge Provincial Court Friday.  She faces several charges including robbery, assault and unlawful confinement. 
All the charges relate to an incident last month when two women entered a home on 9th Avenue North.  They tied up a 69 year old man living there, threatened him, demanded money and beat him up. The house was ransacked and his vehicle was stolen. 
Williams has been remanded in custody and will be back in court in early September.

Regional Police Investigating Pellet Gun Incident

[CJOC News- Pat Siedlecki Aug 19, 2012] Two people have been arrested after police say someone was shooting out car windows with a pellet gun. 
It happened Saturday night along 6th Avenue North.  Two men in small car were seen firing a pellet gun, damaging at least six vehicles.  Police found the vehicle speeding and pulled it over.  Officers searched the vehicle and found a pellet gun, digital scale and a small amount of marijuana. 
Christian Schmidtler and Jonathon Miller are facing charges of mischief and being in possession of a dangerous weapon.  Schmidtler is also charged with possession of a controlled substance. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Counterfeit American $50 Bills Discovered at Lethbridge Businesses

[Alberta Police Report] This week police have responded to several incidents where counterfeit US $50 bills have been passed at local businesses.
The incidents occurred Aug. 11 at a business along the 500 block of 1 Avenue South, Aug. 12 at a business along the 3100 block of 26 Avenue North and Aug. 14 at a business along the 700 block of 4 Avenue South.
No suspect descriptions are available in the first two incidents, however the subject in the Aug. 14 incident is described as a Caucasian male in his 40s, approximately six feet tall, 240 lbs. and clean-shaven.
In each case the fake bills appear to be made with a poor quality paper that is thicker than normal, the bills are slightly smaller, are poorly cut and the ink is running. The last four digits of the serial numbers on the bills are: 2217A, 5633A and 5634A.
Businesses are reminded to always confirm the authenticity of any bill prior to accepting it.
Kristen Harding
Lethbridge Regional Police Service

How to Check for Counterfeit money;

Thursday, August 16, 2012

North Side Robbery Charges, Leeder in Court, Theft from Cars, High Risk Offender Arrested

High Risk Offender Arrested

[Tina Giesbrecht - CJOC News] A high risk offender, recently released into the Lethbridge community, has already been picked up by police.
35 year old Melanie Rose L'Hirondelle was arrested over the noon hour on Monday after she allegedly stole a wallet off a table at a downtown restaurant. She's been charged with theft under $5,000 as well as a breach of a peace bond. L'Hirondelle was released from custody after serving a two year sentence in the Edmonton Women's Institute for aggravated assault and drug possession. Lethbridge Regional Police warned the public about her release last week.

Theft from Motor Vehicles in Fort Macleod

[Alberta Police Report] On August 15 2012, the Fort Macleod RCMP received several complaints where vehicles had been entered during the over-night period at various locations within the Town of Fort Macleod.  All vehicles that were entered had been left unlocked and showed no signs of forced entry.
The RCMP are investigating these incident as a theft and are seeking public assistance in identifying any suspects. 
Anyone that may have witnessed this incident or who has any information are asked to contact the Fort Macleod RCMP at 403 553-7200 or call Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-8477 (TIPS).  
The Fort Macleod RCMP would like to remind people to lock their vehicles at all times and to park in a well lit area.  Anyone witnessing suspicious activities during the early morning hours are also asked to contact the Police.
Cst. John LEARN   RCMP Fort Macleod

Multiple Armed Robberies Back in Court

Tyler Leeder
[Tina Giesbrecht - CJOC News] A 26 year old former Lethbridge man, accused in a string of armed robberies, made a court appearance Wednesday. Tyler Leeder was arrested in Calgary back in April after police got a public tip on his whereabouts. He'd been on the run since last August.
Leeder is charged with armed robberies in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba as well as other offences spanning across the prairies. He was also travelling with a 17 year old Coaldale runaway at the time of his arrest.
Leeder will be back in a Calgary courtroom in mid-September for possible election and plea.

Charges Laid in North Side Robbery

[Tina Giesbrecht - CJOC News] Lethbridge Regional Police have charged a man with robbing a north side business earlier this week.
Just before 11 o'clock Tuesday night, a man walked into a business along St.Edwards Boulevard north. He handed a note to an employee indicating the business was being robbed. Firearms were mentioned but no weapons were shown. The suspect took off with an undisclosed amount of cash.
25 year old Terence Tailfeathers of Standoff is facing one count of robbery.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

ALERT Hard at Work, Cocaine Smuggling Ring, Home Invasion, Lifetime Firearms Ban

Lethbridge Man Accused of Breaking Lifetime Firearms Ban

[Jessica Jackson CJOC News] A 48 year old Lethbridge man will appear in court after reportedly breaking a lifetime firearms prohibition Monday night. 
Just before 9 o'clock a man stole a shotgun out a vehicle parked along 13th street north. He then tried to sell the shotgun to people near the area but was arrested by police.  
Clayton Bruno Devine was charged with possession of a weapon for the purpose of trafficking,  two counts of possession of a firearm contrary to a court order and possession of a weapon obtained by commission of a crime. 

LRPS Charge Second Male in Home Invasion Robbery

Dan Frawley
[Alberta Police Report] On Aug. 1, 2012 at approximately 8:19 p.m. police responded to a home along the 600 block of 15 Street South after receiving a report of a robbery. The 24-year-old male occupant of the home was confronted by two individuals and was threatened with a syringe the subjects claimed was contaminated. The pair subsequently demanded property from the victim and left with an undisclosed amount of cash. This was a targeted act of violence related to the drug trade.
Aaron Lee Michael Sookochoff, 20, is charged with housebreaking and commit robbery. Sookochoff is remanded in custody and scheduled to appear in court today.
Police previously charged 25-year-old Dan Frawley with housebreaking and commit robbery, forcible entry, uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm and possession of a weapon. A warrant for Frawley’s arrest was issued and at this time he remains at large.
Anyone with information on Frawley’s whereabouts is asked to contact police at 403-328-4444 or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.
Kristen Harding
Lethbridge Regional Police Service

Coaldale Man Accused in Cocaine Smuggling Ring Denied Bail

One of the men charged in connection with a huge drug bust at the Coutts border crossing will remain in custody.

[Bryan Jeannotte - CJOC News] A Coaldale man, charged in connection with a cocaine smuggling ring, has been denied bail.
35 year old Jacob Dyck will remain in custody following a bail hearing in Lethbridge Provincial Court. He faces charges of importing cocaine, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and two counts of conspiracy to import cocaine.
The charges relate a drug bust at the Coutts Border Crossing in March when over 6-kilograms of cocaine, valued at $240,000 was seized.
A co-accused, 31 year old Abram Klassen of Taber, has a bail hearing scheduled for August 31st. Dyck will be back in court September 14th.

ALERT Unit Continues to Target Drug Trafficking in Lethbridge

[Tina Giesbrecht - CJOC News] Lethbridge police officers continue to crackdown on drug trafficking in the city. ALERT's Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit recently wrapped up an investigation into a suspected marijuana trafficker, seizing 4.3 kilograms of pot in the process. That amount would be worth over $49,000 if sold on the street.
23 year old Drew Daniel Guy Boake and 25 year old Kyle Cody Kern, both of Lethbridge, have each been charged with one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking.
ALERT's Special Enforcement Unit, based in the city, is made up of Regional Police Officers and RCMP members and has been operating since April 1st.
The unit also recently shut down a local dial-a-dope operation. In early August, officers seized small amounts of heroin and Oxycontin and laid charges against two Lethbridge residents.
21 year old Aaron Lee Michael Sookochoff is charged with four counts of trafficking a controlled substance and 26 year old Grace Leanne Mercier is facing two counts of trafficking a controlled substance. Both are expected in court later this month.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Arrest Warrant Issued for Man Accused in Recent Home Invasion

Dan Frawley
Lethbridge Regional Police have issued an arrest warrant for a man accused in a home invasion last week.
[By Tina Giesbrecht of CJOC News] Lethbridge Regional Police have issued an arrest warrant for a man accused in a home invasion last week. Officers were called to a residence along 6th avenue and 15 street south last Wednesday night. The 24 year old man inside told police he was confronted by two people, threatened with a weapon and that the suspects demanded property and left with an undisclosed amount of cash. LRPS say this was a targeted act of violence related to the drug trade. 25 year old Dan Frawley has been charged in connection with the incident. He's believed to be in the Lethbridge area and may be driving a black Honda Civic. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call police.

Assault, Lethbridge Arrest Warrant Caught in Calgary, Mortgage Fraud Back in Court

Woman Accused of Mortgage Fraud Back in Court

[By Pat Siedlecki of CJOC News] The case against a Lethbridge woman accused of mortgage fraud was in Lethbridge Provincial Court Tuesday. 43 year old Adina Harms-Barbour had her case put over to September 15th. A 10 day trial is set to start December 3rd. Harms-Barbour has pleaded not guilty to eight counts each of fraud over $5,000 and using a forged document all relating to mortgage frauds totally close to $3 million.

Subject of Lethbridge Arrest Warrant Caught in Calgary

[By Bryan Jeannotte of CJOC News] One of the women charged in connection with a recent home invasion made a first appearance in Lethbridge Provincial Court Friday. 27 year old Cheyenne Sue Williams faces several charges including robbery, assault, and unlawful confinement. Most of the charges relate to an incident last month when two women entered a home on 9th Avenue North. They tied up a 69 year old man living there, demanded money, assaulted and threatened him, ransacked his house, and stole his vehicle. Williams was arrested in Calgary earlier this week. She's been remanded in custody and has another court appearance on August 8th. A co-accused, 19 year old Brittany Twigg, will be back in court the following day.

Remember to Keep Car Doors Locked

Thieves stole electronic equipment after using a garage door opener inside a parked car to break into a westside home on the weekend.
[By Pat Siedlecki of CJOC News] It was most certainly a crime of opportunity for thieves on the westside over the weekend.  Lethbridge Regional Police say early Saturday morning, culprits got into a garage, attached to a home on Twin River Road in Copperwood. The suspects used a garage door opener, which was inside a vehicle parked on the driveway.  Police say once inside the garage, thieves made their way into the home, went through several rooms and stole electronic equipment while the homeowners were fast asleep.  The LRPS say you need to keep your vehicles locked at all times, even when you're at home. It's also recommended you look out for your neighbours and report any suspicious activity to police.

Early Morning Assault

A 35 year old man was treated in hospital for fractures and cuts to his face after he was beat up early Saturday morning outside a Lethbridge business.
[CJOC News] Lethbridge Regional Police are searching for a couple of suspects after a man was beat up outside a business on 3rd Avenue South.  The incident happened early Saturday morning when a 35 year old man, who was with a group of friends was approached by a person he didn't know and was physically assaulted.  The dispute moved outside where the victim was punched and kicked and when he fell to the ground, another suspect stepped in and kicked the victim several times in the head while he lay on the ground.  The two culprits then grabbed a cab and left the area.  Regional Police say the suspects are described as Caucasian and native men, both around 5 feet 10 inches tall.  The victim was taken to Chinook Regional Hospital and treated for fractures and cuts to his face and released.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Drugs Stolen in Magrath Pharmasave Break-in

[By Hayley Tanner of Westwind Weekly News] About $10,000 in prescription medications and a small amount of cash was taken from the Magrath Pharmasave last Monday [July 30, 2012] around 3:20am.
Owner, Arlen Bennett says the drugs were the main thing they got away with.  The culprits also attempted to take a number of watches, but due to a change in exit strategy dropped most of them on their way out.
"The investigator says they would have gotten away with more if they could have gone through the front door, but couldn't and had to go back out through the window," explains RCMP Sgt. Kelly McCoy. "They initially targeted the drugs, they were very limited in what they could have taken."
The unknown assailants entered through the rear window of the building and it wasn't very long before the motion sensors alerted Bennett.
"I got there in about 10 minutes," he says. "In the past it has always been something falling off a shelf, or even a mouse that set it off.  It's the first break-in that's happened in the last 21-years I have been there."
Since the incident Bennett has "beefed up" security, replacing the frames around the window-bars and will be installing cameras soon.
"Things are locked, windows are barred.  They have been in place for I don't know how long, but they were able to split the wood casing around the window-bars," Bennett explained.  "We put concrete frames around the windows and bars on both sides.  We reinforced the bars on the outside and put a new set of bars on the inside, so it would be pretty tough to get in there."
Although there are no suspects as of this point in the investigation, McCoy says there is some information coming through regarding the break-in.
"It looks like it was more the prescription pain killers, something more than your average Tylenol," he says.  "I would expect T3 or T4 and anything along the lines of stronger pain meds."
He went on to say that forensic and identification teams came to the scene last week and collected samples that will hopefully provide the RCMP with more information on the suspects.
Anyone who has any information, or tips regarding the incident can contact the Magrath/Raymond RCMP at 403.752.4747, or, Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.8477.

Is it Pot, or Daisies?

A follow up story to this article. by CJOC News (link)

Man accused in City's biggest outdoor grow-op earlier this week says police have made a big mistake in that the 1,624 plants police seized weren't pot, but in fact Montauk Daisies

[Lethbridge Herald] The man who stands accused of nurturing Lethbridge's largest-ever outdoor marijuana grow operation says police have seized nothing but daisies from his backyard.
Ryan Thomas Rockman was charged with two counts of production of a controlled substance and one count each of possession of a controlled substance, and possessing proceeds of crime after police knocked on his door on Monday evening.
Officers went to the home in the 900 block of 13 Street North to check on a court-imposed curfew for one of Rockman's relatives, who wasn't there.  Instead, police found the 41-year-old grandfather had been smoking marijuana.
That much Rockman admitted. But he maintained his innocence on the production charges, saying there was nothing illegal growing in his lush backyard garden.
Photo courtesy of CJOC News.
All 1,624 of the plants police seized, he alleged, were only Montauk daisies - a fall blooming shrubbery perennial that he's been growing in his yard for 10 years.
"If you had them both side by side, there's a night and day difference between them," Rockman said.
"Now it's in the news that I'm the biggest grow op guy in southern Alberta and I didn't even have one single plant growing. I know better," he added, saying he occasionally smokes pot to cope with back pain and has been unsuccessful at getting a medicinal marijuana licence.
"If they were marijuana plants, I'd go home and hang my head and say 'I guess they got me.' But that's not what I was doing."
The Lethbridge Regional Police service believes the seized plants are marijuana and has sent a sample to be lab-tested, saying it could take 30 to 45 days to get official results.
"If they somehow send them back and say it really is pot, then our system is completely corrupt and something went seriously wrong somewhere," he said.
If the plants are analyzed and indeed deemed daisies, Rockman hoped some of the charges against him will be dropped. He's got himself a lawyer to fight the case, and is scheduled to appear in Lethbridge provincial court Aug. 23, along with 43-year-old Brent Allen Oczko, who was also charges with one count of possession during the raid.
Meanwhile, though, he says his name has been tarnished and his reputation ruined.
"They muddied my name pretty good." Rockman said. "The whole situation makes me want to hang my head and cry."
He said he didn't know giving up his drug stash to police would lead to the destruction of part of his garden full of flowers, shrubs, berry patches and fruit trees that he's been cultivating since he bought his house in the northside neighbourhood 14 years ago.
"It's a lot of work," he said.  "Usually, that's what I spend all of my leisure time doing, is gardening."
On Monday, Lethbridge regional police, with backup from the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team's combined forces special enforcement unit, seized 1,624 plants as well as 697 grams of dried marijuana, 6.3 grams of cannabis resin and some cash.