UPDATED: Charges against a fifth suspect were withdrawn during their first court appearance on Sept. 11, 2018.
By Stu Salkeld The Pipestone Flyer
Wetaskiwin RCMP with the help of a multitude of other departments found stolen vehicles, a loaded gun and what appears to be a chop shop located in the nearby rural area.
According to RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Laurel scott, “On August 23, the Wetaskiwin RCMP, in cooperation with other units, executed a search warrant at a rural farmyard where several stolen vehicles were recovered. Vehicles included four passenger vehicles, one R.V., and two ATVs. Also seized from within the residence were two handguns, one of which was loaded.
“The investigation started on August 22 at 2:20 p.m., when the Blackfalds RCMP communicated information to the Wetaskiwin RCMP that a stolen truck was believed to be at a rural property in Wetaskiwin County. The Wetaskiwin RCMP attended the suspect property and located a stolen ATV departing from the property. This led to an arrest, and subsequent follow up at the property where the initially reported stolen truck was located. A total of five individuals were arrested at the property.
“The RCMP secured the residence and called in external units for operational support in anticipation of acquiring a search warrant and conducting a search. Edmonton RCMP Auto Theft Section attended to provide expertise in identifying stolen vehicles, given their state of disassembly. Also collaborating on the investigation and search were the Wetaskiwin Crime Reduction Unit, Wetaskiwin General Investigation Section and the Central Alberta District Crime Reduction Unit.
“On August 23 the search warrant was executed with the support of all units. As a result of this investigation and the seizure of stolen property, three males are facing charges. The two other individuals who were arrested have been released, with no charges.
“19-year-old Clayton Dyllan Courtright of Ponoka is facing six criminal charges; possession of property obtained by crime (x3) and fail to comply with conditions of a Recognizance (x3). Courtright is being held in custody pending a court date in the Provincial Court of Alberta in Wetaskiwin on September 11, 2018. At the time of his arrest, Courtright was wanted on an arrest warrant for charges out of Ponoka. He is scheduled to appear in court in Ponoka on September 14, 2018.
“25-year-old Cody James Estelle-Pittman of Rimbey is charged with the following: possession of property obtained by crime (x3) and fail to comply with a probation order. Estelle-Pittman remains in custody and scheduled to be in court in Wetaskiwin on August 28, 2018.
“One adult female was identified, and will also be facing charges. She fled the property in a stolen vehicle. The vehicle was located abandoned, but the 34-year-old female has not been located. Charges will be pursued against her, and a warrant issued.
“The outcome on this investigation is positive in that a notification from Blackfalds RCMP led to a substantial seizure and the uncovering of a rural chop shop” says Sgt. Corey Kyle, of the Wetaskiwin RCMP. “Each unit who participated in this investigation contributed unique expertise and the joint efforts of all led to results. We have mitigated safety concerns by removing two handguns from the individuals involved.”
Scott noted the investigation into these subjects and this property continues and further charges are anticipated.
If you have any information to contribute to this investigation, please contact the Wetaskiwin RCMP at 780-312-7267 or call your local police detachment. If you want to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), by internet at www.tipsubmit.com, or by SMS.