Several robberies that have taken place in communities around central Alberta over the last month and a half are apparently linked.
According to the RCMP, robberies that date back to late December in Ponoka, Rimbey, Bentley, Red Deer and Sundre are all alleged to be related. While police are not saying these crimes have been committed by the same group of individuals, all five robberies are similar when it comes to the description of the suspects, how the crimes were committed and how the suspects made their getaway.
The RCMP have set up a task force consisting of members from the Ponoka, Rimbey, Red Deer, Sundre and Sylvan Lake detachments who are working collaboratively and sharing intelligence in hopes of solving these cases.
The first of the robberies took place around 11:40 p.m. on Dec. 22 when two males entered a bar in Bentley armed with a gun and a black hunting knife. The pair demanded money then quickly fled in a vehicle, driven by a third male, described as a dark colour newer Dodge Durango.
The suspects who entered the bar are described as: Caucasian, about five foot six inches with a heavy build and wearing a balaclava or dark colour ski mask with a grey plaid pattern sweatshirt and green gloves; and, Caucasian, about six feet tall with a slender build, wearing dark or black clothing, a ‘gator’ style balaclava and a possible red flame logo on one shoulder of his shirt.
Incident number two:
This took place around 2 p.m. on Dec. 28 when two males entered the East 40th Pub in Red Deer with a shotgun and a screwdriver, leaving with an amount of cash in black bag they carried with them before fleeing in a metallic brown Toyota Sienna driven by a third suspect.
Two of the suspects in this crime are described as Caucasian between 18 and 32 years old, while the first was said to be about 5’8” to 5’10” tall and 150 to 170 lbs, wearing a balaclava with sunglasses and a ball cap along with a blue hoodie, plaid fleece pants, grey work gloves and white, black soled running shoes. The second suspect was described as between 5’10” and 6’ tall, 180 to 200 lbs and wearing a balaclava with a grey hoodie, dark grey pants with a white strip down the leg, dark work gloves and dark running shoes with white soles.
Crime number three:
The incident occurred about 11:35 a.m. on Dec. 31 with two males entering the Sundre Motor Inn and demanding cash while one suspect was armed with a shotgun. Once the pair got the cash, they left in what was later found to be a stolen blue/grey Chevy Trail Blazer driven by a third suspect. The vehicle was found abandoned nearby a short time after the robbery.
The first suspect is described as Caucasian, 6 feet tall, average build with a very pronounced nose and about 30 to 35 years old, wearing plaid blue/grey pants with dark shoes, dark blue winter jacket with a red top, grey hood and a blue/green face covering that may have had a ‘monster drink’ logo on the front as well as black and leather work gloves.
Suspect number two is said to be Caucasian, 5’8”, average build and about 28 to 30 years old, wearing a black hoodie jacket, red gloves, blue jeans with rolled up cuffs, white sneakers, sunglasses and a white bandana with black dots over his face.
Next up was the robbery of the Royal Hotel bar in Ponoka on Jan. 7, when two males entered the business around 6: 15 p.m. carrying a shotgun and a large knife. Once they had the cash, the pair fled to a waiting stolen Kia Sorrento driven by a third suspect. The vehicle, which had been stolen from Red Deer, was later found abandoned.
The one suspect is described as about 6’2” tall, 220 to 240 lbs, wearing a white hoodie with a grey checkered pattern on the shoulders and hood along with a white full face balaclava, white gloves, black camo pants and dark running shoes. The sawed off shotgun he carried was light in colour, possibly spray-painted white, with a black sling.
The other suspect is described about 5’8” tall, average build wearing a grey hoodie, a half-face balaclava, light blue jeans, a satchel style black bag, tan work boots with a black toe.
The final robbery occurred at the Rimbey Grande Hotel bar on Jan. 15 around 9:50 p.m. where two males entered, one carrying a shotgun, and demanded an employee hand over the money in the register. Both suspects are described as Caucasian, wearing black hoodies, masks and blue jeans. The pair fled after getting the money, but there is no information on how they left the scene.
Fortunately, no one was injured in any of these crimes.
RCMP are still looking for assistance in identifying the suspects involved. Anyone with information are urged to contact the local RCMP detachment or call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).