Edmonton police are looking to reunite some recently recovered items with their rightful owners, who may live in the Lower Mainland.
In the early morning hours of Jan. 25, officers with the Edmonton Police Service’s specialized traffic apprehension team (STAT) conducted a vehicle stop in the area of 118th Avenue and 103rd Street, according to a release to media. Police determined the vehicle, a 2017 Ford U-Haul cube van, had been stolen after it was reportedly rented in Innisfail, Alta. using stolen identity documents.
Officers recovered a large quantity of allegedly fraudulent documents and stolen property, including mail, financial documents, credit cards, forged identity documents and stolen identity documents such as driver’s licences and social insurance cards. Investigators also recovered break-and-enter tools.
With the assistance of Innisfail RCMP and the Calgary Police Service, a second vehicle that was reportedly stolen by way of identity theft in Calgary was also recovered in Innisfail.
Investigators believe the individuals committed a series of crimes across British Columbia and Alberta from late 2016 to early 2019, beginning in the Lower Mainland and moving through the southern Interior of B.C. and southern Alberta until they were arrested in Edmonton.
As a result, the personal items recovered may belong to citizens from several communities in either province, including (but not limited to) Squamish, Surrey, Delta, Langley and Vancouver in B.C., and Okotoks, Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta.
Among the recovered personal items were numerous pieces of jewelry, specialty spoons, comic books, stamps and a camera. Police believe that these items, along with many of the recovered identity and financial documents, were stolen during break-and-enters or thefts from vehicles.
The release states that often, only a small number of items stolen during these crimes are listed as stolen. While some recovered items have been returned to their owners, several remain unclaimed.
“Discovering large quantities of stolen or forged identity and financial documents in the course of conducting stolen property investigations is unfortunately becoming increasingly common,” Const. Brendan Power with STAT said in a press release. “Often citizens may be unaware that their identity documents are being used to commit crimes, including frauds and thefts.”
Police remind the public to keep their identity and financial documents in a secure location and avoid leaving them — or any other valuables — in their vehicles. In addition, if you’re the victim of a break-and-enter, theft-from-vehicle, or if your government identification is otherwise lost or stolen, report it to police as soon as possible.
“Unfortunately, these documents are frequently not reported missing or stolen to police,” Power said. “Reporting can significantly reduce the time it takes to return these documents and other property to their rightful owners.”
Investigators have posted photos of the recovered items to the EPS’s Pinterest page in hopes the original owners will come forward and claim them. Anyone who believes the stolen property may belong to them is encouraged to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following a thorough investigation, 130 charges were laid in relation to the Jan. 25 arrests.
Jennilee Weiler, 30, was issued 47 charges including possessing stolen credit cards, obtaining/possessing identity information, possessing stolen property and possessing an offensive weapon dangerous to the public. Weiler was also arrested on 45 outstanding warrants from Alberta and British Columbia, including theft, break-and-enter, mischief, vehicle identification number (VIN) tampering and possessing a stolen vehicle over $5,000.
Jason Fletcher, 32, was issued 45 charges including making/possessing identity documents, obtaining/possessing identity information, possessing stolen credit cards, theft of motor vehicle and fraud over $5,000.
Adam Laderoute, 37, was issued 38 charges including making/possessing identity documents, possessing stolen credit cards, possessing stolen property, obtaining/possessing identity information and possessing an offensive weapon dangerous to the public.