Edmonton police recover nearly $1M in suspected travel trailer theft ring
EDMONTON — A suspect in a million-dollar theft ring was only recently released from prison after serving time for masterminding one of the largest online frauds in history.
In 2001, 67-year-old Alyn Waage was arrested in Mexico for a pyramid scheme that, according to reports, stole an estimated $90 million from thousands of investors around the world.
Ontario woman Brenda Martin, who worked as his chef in Mexico, gained international attention after being held by Mexican authorities for two years. She was accused of knowingly accepting money from the investment fraud run by Waage.
Media reports state that after Waage’s arrest in Mexico, he was released and fled the country. The FBI reportedly found him on a street in Costa Rica and flew him to the U.S., where in 2005, he was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Five years later, he was extradited to Edmonton, where he faced dozens of charges relating to mortgage fraud. In May 2011, he was sentenced to three-and-a-half years, but was given credit for 16 months served.
The most recent fraud scheme he’s accused of, along with two other suspects, has affected unsuspecting buyers across western Canada.
The Edmonton Police Service Auto Theft Unit has recovered about $863,130 worth of high-end travel trailers and recreational equipment that were allegedly stolen and then resold by the trio. Police believe there may be more stolen property out there, and are still looking for one of the three suspects.
Late last year, a complex investigation began with the help of RCMP, the Saskatoon Police Service, and the Insurance Bureau of Canada. What they discovered was a suspected fraudulent registration scheme involving stolen recreational vehicles that stretched across Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. It’s believed it went on from spring through summer 2013.
Investigators think the vehicles were being stolen from residential driveways, parking lots and storage lots, predominantly outside Edmonton.
Police believe that in most cases, trailers and equipment were given false vehicle identification numbers (VINs) and registered using counterfeit bills of sale before being sold through online classifieds such as Kijiji. Buyers would then respond to the ads and arrange to purchase the recreational equipment.
Over the course of their investigation, police recovered:
- a stolen Ford F-350 truck
- a Custom Weld Viper 2 jet boat
- and a Gateway boat trailer
- 11 travel trailers
- three enclosed trailers
- two fifth wheels
- one utility trailer
- two boat trailers
- and one jet boat
Investigators have been able to identify the original owners and return the property to them. However, many innocent buyers are now out significant amounts of money, such as one individual from Kelowna who purchased a travel trailer for $35,000.
As a result of the investigation, a total of 95 charges were laid against three Edmonton men, including Waage.
Kelly Thomas Yates, 50, is wanted by police on numerous warrants for:
- break and enter
- theft of vehicle
- possession of stolen property
- tampering with VIN
- utter forged document,
- and trafficking in stolen property
Alyn Richard Waage (also known as Alan Wage), 67, and Donald Michael White, 56, have both been charged with:
- numerous counts of possession of stolen property
- tampering with VIN
- utter forged document
- and trafficking in stolen property.
Detectives believe there may be other stolen travel trailers connected to this file that was sold to unsuspecting buyers.
They’re specifically looking for a 2013 Dutchman Denali 268RB travel trailer that has been registered using fabricated information and is currently unaccounted for. It’s believed that the trailer may have been sold by Alyn Waage to a buyer who was unaware that it was stolen.
If you have purchased any travel trailers, recreational equipment, or other property from these individuals in the last 18 months, or have any information related to these matters, you’re asked to contact the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.
© Shaw Media, 2014