Calgary Police Service reports having laid a total of 155 charges against six people.
The charges are in relation to the alleged theft of vehicles and armed carjackings that took place in the Calgary area, an investigation that was sparked by a single vehicle collision that took place on Monday, October 21.
A CPS release states that a stolen Audi S4 crashed in the 100 block of Harvest Oak Rise NE at around 12:40 pm that day, and that the driver was picked up by a man who had been driving a stolen Mercedes, which then fled the area.
Police believe that the Mercedes was stolen a day prior in an armed carjacking in Airdrie.
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Calgary officers managed to locate the suspects with the help of the Auto Theft Team, Canine Unit, Tactical Unit, Prolific Offender Engagement Team, HAWKS, and the RCMP.
“This case highlights the significant amount of resources and partnerships that go in to stolen vehicle investigations,” said Staff Sergeant Graeme Smiley of the CPS District Support Unit in the release.
“Criminals operate stolen vehicles with little to no regard for the safety of other citizens and are constantly crossing jurisdictional boundaries. We are thankful for our partners at the RCMP for their assistance with this investigation.”
Five people were arrested on Friday, October 25 as a result of the ensuing investigation, all being taken into custody at a home near Macleod Trail and Township Road 220 in De Winston, Alberta. A sixth person was arrested later that same day.
Police also seized a sawed-off 12-gauge shotgun during the arrests.
The release states that the group is believed to be linked to 18 vehicles that have been stolen from the Calgary area, most being taken when the vehicle was left running and unattended or through garage break and enters.
Of the 18 vehicles believed to be stolen by the group, 14 have been recovered by investigators.
The suspects, 28-year-old Justin Ward, 20-year-old Kage Ragaisis, 19-year-old Kelton Travis, 18-year-old Evelyn Clare, 26-year-old Casey Cousins, and 24-year-old Jesse Strongeagle are facing charges relating to stolen property, weapons, driving offences, failing to comply with release conditions, and failing to attend court.
Ragaisis is facing five additional charges relating to the alleged carjacking in Airdrie, including robbery with a firearm and pointing a firearm.
“This was a complex investigation with a very successful resolution,” said Kimberly Pasloske, detachment commander of the Airdrie RCMP, in the release.
“It is great having such a strong working relationship with Calgary Police Service. Our stripes are different colours but we have the same goal and that is to keep the public safe.”
The release also included some tips for how Calgarians can make themselves harder targets for potential carjackers:
- Never leave a running vehicle unattended.
- Ensure vehicles parked inside garages are locked and that vehicle keys are kept in a secure place inside the residence.
- Use a steering wheel lock to deter thieves.
- Report suspicious activity to police immediately by calling 403-266-1234 or 9-1-1 for crimes in progress.