A new crime prevention project is underway in Wetaskiwin and appears to be collecting rewards already.
According to RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Laurel Scott, “The Rural Crime Reduction Project (RCRP), which launched in the Wetaskiwin region this week, has been fully engaged.
“On April 17, the RCRP assisted Wetaskiwin RCMP in making arrests and laying charges following a violent armed car jacking incident.
“The 61-year-old male victim has suffered significant injuries as a result of this incident and was admitted to the hospital in Wetaskiwin, where he has since been released.
“At 11:50 a.m., the Wetaskiwin RCMP responded to a 911 report of a car jacking that had occurred 30 minutes prior. The male victim reported that he was driving three unknown subjects from Edmonton to Wetaskiwin County when he was physically attacked. The male described that his vehicle was stolen at gunpoint by two males and a female.
“Wetaskiwin RCMP and the newly formed RCRP conducted an investigation and located the stolen vehicle at a rural property. Two males, and one female suspect, all of whom were known to the police, were arrested at the residence with no incident.
“Wetaskiwin RCMP General Investigation Section was deployed to assist and all units worked collaboratively to execute a search warrant at the property. As a result of the search warrant the stolen vehicle, other stolen property and a knife were seized.”
Cpl. Scott said three suspects have been charged in relation to this incident. “20-year-old Shae-Lee Lynn Phillips has been charged with 12 criminal charges including robbery, assault causing bodily harm, assault with a weapon and breach of Recognizance, amongst others,” she stated.
“22-year-old Damyon James William Sippola has been charged with 11 criminal charges including robbery, assault with a weapon, possession of stolen property over $5,000 et al.
“27-year-old Dale Arthur Kemp is facing 15 criminal charges including robbery, assault causing bodily harm, and possession of a firearm contrary to an Order (x4), amongst other charges.
“Judicial interim release hearings have been held and all three accused were scheduled to appear in the Provincial Court of Alberta in Wetaskiwin on April 19.”
“Having this newly formed project in place provides a strong support to the communities in the region” says S/Sgt. Mark Groves, district advisory NCO in Central Alberta district. “Our intention is to work together with stakeholders in the rural communities in the Wetaskiwin region and focus our efforts on targeting crime hotspots and repeat offenders. Solving this investigation was a great start.”
At a recent rural crime watch meeting, Wetaskiwin RCMP commander Insp. Keith Durance explained how CRUs work. He said RCMP officers from other areas work in the unit focused on the eight to 10 per cent of repeat offenders who investigators are familiar with.