Police have arrested a suspect in connection with a string of thefts of trucks, trailers and construction equipment east of Edmonton. The arrest came after a man driving a construction vehicle led Vegreville RCMP on a low-speed chase.
It all began last Saturday around 4:45 p.m., when Mounties got a call about a suspicious man who had just parked a truck and trailer in a field southwest of Mundare.
Police did a check and discovered the truck and trailer had been stolen from a business in the Nisku industrial park south of Edmonton. The person who called police then said the man who had dropped off the truck was leaving the scene in a John Deere skid steer, which was later determined also to have been stolen.
RCMP found a man driving the skid steer on Range Road 17-0 and attempted to arrest him.
The man fled in the equipment which, according to John Deere’s website, has a maximum travel speed of about 20 kilometres per hour.
Police said at one point during the low-speed pursuit, the driver attempted to ram a police vehicle.
Police said the man continued to evade police by driving through two large metal gates around the rural property. The suspect then abandoned the skid steer and stole an unlocked truck. RCMP said at one point, the suspect backed up the vehicle and made another attempt to ram into the officers.
He then fled the property in the stolen truck. Mounties said over the next hour, the man attempted to steal a service truck and was successful in stealing another pickup truck from the same property.
RCMP searched the skid steer and found a .22 calibre rifle.
Two days later on Monday, Oct. 31, a suspect was arrested by Red Deer RCMP after someone tried to steal merchandise from the Red Deer Canadian Tire.
While being arrested, Mounties said they determined the suspect had driven to Red Deer in a semi truck that was stolen from Fort Saskatchewan.
Police have charged Rory Jordan Serna, 23, of Two Hills with a string of charges. As a result of the incident near Vegreville, Serna was charged with the following offences:
- 5 counts of possession of stolen property over $5,000
- Flight from police while being pursued
- Dangerous operation of a motor vehicle
- Assaulting a police officer
- Possession of a firearm in a motor vehicle
- Unlawful possession of a firearm
- 13 counts of breach of his release conditions
- 2 counts of breach of probation
- Operating an uninsured motor vehicle on a highway
- Operating an unregistered motor vehicle
As a result of the incident in Red Deer, Serna was charged with these additional offences:
- Obstructing a police officer
- Possession of stolen property over $5,000
- 3 counts of breach of probation
- 14 counts of breach of his release conditions
Serna remains in police custody. His first court appearance for the Red Deer charges was on Wednesday. His first appearance for the Vegreville charges is scheduled for Thursday.
RCMP say Serna is also a suspect in the theft of trucks, trailers and construction equipment in the Vegreville, Two Hills and Lamont areas over the past several months.
Anyone with information about the investigations is asked to call their local RCMP Detachment, or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477)