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Edmonton police to provide update on arson, extortion investigation Thursday

Click to play video: 'Extortion probe expanded to include west Edmonton fire that destroyed home, damaged 9'
Extortion probe expanded to include west Edmonton fire that destroyed home, damaged 9
With two additional suburban Edmonton neighbourhoods waking up to homes under construction burning, police are now linking one of the fires in the west end neighbourhood of Secord to a string of alleged extortion arsons. Sarah Ryan reports – Jan 8, 2024

Chief Dale McFee says the Edmonton Police Service expects to update the public this week on an investigation involving a series of extortion attempts and arsons.

“(We) obviously want to share where we’re at, at this point with our community and just on this file,” McFee said Wednesday. “There’s a lot of people that are extremely concerned and upset, and rightfully so.”

McFee said at least 18 incidents of extortion have occurred in the Edmonton area since October.

Multiple police services are working on the investigation, which involves suspects reportedly targeting members of the South Asian business community.

The EPS says suspects demand large sums of money. Failure to pay results in arson or other property damage to new home builds, show homes and related property.

Click to play video: 'Edmonton police investigating arsons, shooting as part of extortion targeting South Asian community'
Edmonton police investigating arsons, shooting as part of extortion targeting South Asian community

Speaking on 630 CHED Wednesday, McFee said six people have been charged so far in the complex investigation that goes beyond city limits. McFee added Edmonton is one of the few jurisdictions that have laid charges.

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“It’s got national, international components to it,” McFee said. “We’ve got a lot of resources on it. Myself personally and many of my members have been working with the business community and the community at large trying to reduce the fears but at the same time hold people accountable of this.

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“There will be an update, a press conference – I believe it’s tomorrow – where we’ll give more details in relation to this investigation.”

McFee said the EPS is committed to putting the necessary resources into the investigation to hold the people responsible accountable.

“We’ve worked with several of these businesses and personally I’ve talked to several of them as well, and this is a significant concern which we currently have a lot of resources working on.”

The EPS said Thursday’s media availability will be held at 10 a.m.

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