In March 2021, the RCMP Western Alberta District Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) initiated an investigation in response to an increase in thefts from oil and gas sites in the rural areas surrounding Grande Prairie, Alta.
On April 2, 2021, two suspects were identified after RCMP members observed the suspects committing an offence at two oilfield sites northwest of Grande Prairie.
A traffic stop was initiated after the suspects left the oilfield site, and following a brief attempt by the suspects to flee, they were taken into custody without further incident. Police located freshly cut copper wire in their possession, and an inspection of the sites revealed the suspects caused a significant amount of damage.
A 53-year-old male and a 29-year-old male, both from Grande Prairie, Alta. have been charged with:
- Mischief over $5000
- Theft under $5000
- Flight from police
- Possession of break in instruments
Including additional charges under the newly created Provincial Critical Infrastructure Defence Act.
"A vital component to the success of this investigation was the ability to use information obtained by recently passed provincial legislation relating to scrap metal and recycling," say Cpl. Chris Power of the Western Alberta District Rural Crime Reduction Unit. "The oil and gas industries are critical to Alberta, and we will continue to utilize all tools available to use and the assistance of specialized RCMP units to identify, arrest, and prosecute those individuals who chose to target these sites."
Both males have been released from custody with conditions and are scheduled to appear in Grande Prairie Provincial Court on April 21, 2021.