Several stolen firearms were recovered over the past week in two related incidents in and around Stettler, resulting in charges against three individuals.
Joseph Raymond Rainville, 19, Richard Metcalfe, 23, and a female youth, are all facing multiple charges including breaches of recognizance, possession of stolen property, and possession of firearms.
Police were first called out in the early morning hours of Thursday, Aug. 26, after a homeowner interrupted the attempted theft of his pick-up truck. According to Stettler RCMP detachment commander Cpl. Cameron Russell, the owner’s keys had been stolen from the vehicle in the previous days, and the owner had waited up to see if someone would try to take the vehicle.
“Kudos to him for taking the initiative,” Russell said. “He basically foiled the crime.”
The suspects fled in a dark-coloured truck, which was later located by police. A short pursuit took place, but the RCMP called it off in the interest of public safety, Russell said.
Afterwards, patrolling RCMP members located an abandoned 2011 grey Jeep Compass in a ditch. During the investigation, police discovered the vehicle was stolen, and within found two weapons – a .45 pistol and a sawed-off shotgun, Russell said. The shotgun was loaded.
A canine unit from Red Deer was called in and the handler and dog led RCMP to a home in the Stettler area, where Rainville, who is known to police, was arrested.
“The dog’s handler and the dog was not satisfied that Joey was the only one involved,” Russell said. According to the corporal, Rainville indicated there were other people involved in a different break and enter, though he didn’t reveal any other information.
Meanwhile, police were en route to Red Willow in response to a break-and-enter call. Someone had broken into a rural family’s garage, and while the suspects did not break into the house, the “people in the home were scared witless,” Russell said.
The suspects stole the family’s GMC Cobalt and fled the scene before police arrived, but police did locate the dark-coloured truck from the earlier attempted theft nearby in a ditch. The truck had been stolen previously from Halkirk.
The next day, police received a call from a rural Botha-area home, where the owner said they were concerned about two suspicious individuals who had come to their home, asking to charge their phones.
According to police, the two suspects, later revealed as Metcalf and the underage girl, had told the owner they had accidentally ditched their car, and hoped to charge their phones enough to call police.
Something about the pair’s behaviour made the owner nervous, so he phoned police.
Police arrived and arrested the two. On arrival at the vehicle, which was the car stolen from Red Willow the night before, police found multiple firearms in the trunk, one of which was loaded.
While one of the guns had been stolen in a break and enter near Botha, the other gun had been stolen from Hanna in the same break-and-enter theft as the firearms located in the jeep, which had led to Rainville.
Rainville is facing two counts of possession of firearm obtained by crime, and one count each of possession of property obtained by crime, obstruction of a peace officer, possession of a firearm without licence, possession of a loaded firearm without a licence, and multiple breaches of recognizance.
Metcalfe is facing multiple charges, though he did not have the full list available by press time. He is expecting multiple firearms charges, possession of illegal substance charges, stolen property charges as well as one for having stolen licence plates on the vehicles involved.
The minor female is also facing multiple charges, including firearms charges. While Rainville and Metcalfe have had run-ins with the law before, Russell indicated this was the first time the girl had trouble with the law.
RCMP investigating home invasionStettler RCMP are investigating an alleged home invasion from this past Saturday, Aug. 29. Russell said that due to the current state of the investigation, police cannot release many details, but he did confirm that several firearms, electronics and money were reported stolen as part of the incident.
School zones now in effectSummer vacation is officially over as students return to school today, Wednesday Sept. 2. With the students’ return to school, school zones are once again in effect.
These zones, located on Highway 12, 50 Street, and 44 and 45 avenues, have school zone speed limits of 30km/h during times students are heading to-and-fro from the schools.
“We want to remind all motorists to keep their eyes open for children and youth, and remind them that school zones will be enforced,” Russell said.
Constable before judge on assault chargeRCMP Const. Glen Gabruch will be in court this Thursday and Friday, Sept. 3-4, for his assault trial.
The police officer chose a trial with a judge earlier this year after the Crown opted to press charges against him, stemming from a complaint from a man whom Gabruch arrested.
The man claimed that the constable used excessive force while processing him after his arrest, a claim the constable denies.
Gabruch, who was with the Stettler detachment for about eight years, is now with the Lloydminster detachment. The transfer was already in progress at the time of the incident from which charged stemmed.
His commander at the time, retired Sgt. Duncan Babchuk, expressed full trust in the constable after Gabruch pleaded not guilty before a judge.
“I got a call from his new commander asking me if he should be concerned,” Babchuk said at the time. “I told him no, there’s nothing to worry about.”
The current detachment commander, Cpl. Russell, also expressed full support for the constable.