Ponoka RCMP were able to nab two suspects in the theft of a bait car recently. File photo

Theft of Ponoka RCMP bait car leads to arrests

Ponoka RCMP investigators’ use of a bait car helps nab two residents from Joffre

A stolen RCMP bait car landed two Joffre residents with numerous criminal code charges.

Ponoka RCMP tracked a man and woman on the morning of March 11 after allegedly stealing the car. The sting operation is a message to would-be car thieves, which also tied them to several break and enter files in Gull Lake.

“The RCMP are warning would be criminals that if you steal a vehicle, or enter it to steal items, it may be a ‘bait car’ and you will be caught,” states a Tuesday release.

To help track the suspects, police used the Red Deer police dog services as well as Ponoka’s general investigation unit. They tracked the vehicle all the way to Joffre where the suspects were subsequently arrested.

Along with the bait car it appears there was evidence of several alleged break and enter incidents in Gull Lake in the car. Police say the pair used the vehicle to travel to Gull Lake and then enter homes.

Add to the break and enter files, it is alleged that the day before, the pair were involved in a collision east of Ponoka at 4:30 a.m. The vehicle they were in was a pickup reported stolen out of Rocky Mountain House.

Bashaw RCMP were involved with that part of the investigation.

“The truck rolled in the ditch and a male and female suspect fled the scene,” say RCMP. “A short time later they attended two separate farm properties where they attempted to break in to numerous buildings and steal a vehicle until they were confronted by the property owners.”

Old MacDonald Kennels posted some security camera screenshots of the what is believed to be the same suspects.

The extensive investigation resulted in a multitude of charges for the pair.

Spencer Black, 20, from Joffre is charged with trespassing at night, driving while disqualified, theft of a motor vehicle, break and enter to commit theft, possession of break-in instruments, possession of stolen property and mischief of property over $5,000, plus possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine).

Shyla Loustel also faces similar charges as well as trespassing at night, possession of property and mischief of property over $5,000 as well as failing to remain at the scene of a collision and theft of a motor vehicle. She also faces charges of possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) and the improper disposal of waste on the highway.

“Property crimes, including vehicle thefts, are one of the Ponoka RCMP’s priorities. In conjunction with the “K”Division Auto Theft Unit, an initiative to use a bait vehicle has been implemented,” say police. “The location and type of vehicle will not be identified in an effort to maintain the intended purpose of this vehicle.”

“Targeting people who steal vehicles is just one component of the ongoing crime reduction strategies in place across the province.”

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