An Edmonton man is facing a number of charges after a lengthy stolen property investigation by police.
The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) said it became aware of several break-ins and thefts at newly built and unoccupied homes across the city in October 2018. A suspect was identified and search warrants were conducted at two homes.
Police said they found a significant amount of property — enough to fill four cargo vans — including three stolen utility trailers, stolen appliances and stolen construction materials. Police said they seized the utility trailers, a stolen F-150 truck, granite counters and cabinets, furnaces, bathtubs, toilets, light fixtures, tiles, televisions and dishwashers, among other items.
Police believe several new subdivisions were targeted, including Rapperswill, Griesbach, Oxford and Rosenthal.
“Theft is a huge issue across the city, especially when it comes to break and enters,” EPS spokesperson Cheryl Sheppard said. “If the property is easy to access and easy to get to and it’s worth anything, it’s going to be attractive to someone who’s looking to steal property.”
Vincent Shenfield does eavestrough work in one of the new subdivisions and said the theft in the area has gotten progressively worse lately.
“Guys are losing stuff. Guys have to leave trailers on site because they don’t want to drag them around the city… and then they’ll lock them up and guys will come and cut the locks and take the tools out of the trailers,” he said.
“We were at a job and there was a painter inside and he was done his job and he waited for three-and-a-half hours to leave because he wanted to make sure everything was locked in the house he was working o,n because his tools were inside.”
Fred Konev with Sundial Contracting also works in the area. He said even with insurance, theft can be a big loss for workers and companies.
“Some guys had their whole trailers taken away, so that’s a good $20,000 – $25,000 right there,” he said. “It sets you back a whole year by the time you can get your money back to replace everything.”
The homes that were searched are located near 135 Avenue and 127 Street and 118 Avenue and 44 Street.
Robert Webber, 36, has been charged with possession of stolen property, theft under $5,000, 30 counts of breach of recognizance and 12 counts of breaking and entering.
“We’re asking citizens to keep their eyes open to any suspicious activity in their neighbourhoods,” Sgt. Robert Nayowski said.
“Contractors work during daylight, so in the event you notice suspicious individuals coming and going from newly constructed homes at unusual hours of the night and loading property into vehicles, we would like to hear from you.”
Police said they are trying to determine where exactly the property came from.
Webber remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 29.