Sawed-off rifle pointed at Alberta family after vehicle stolen: RCMP

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A trio of Alberta family members that tried to stop the theft of a truck from another family member’s home were met with the barrel of a sawed-off rifle at the end of their pursuit.

According to RCMP in Sundre, Alta., officers were called to a home in the rural area of Eagle Hill at 10:47 a.m for reports of a stolen vehicle.

When police arrived, RCMP said they were told the homeowner was out of the country, but had called a number of family members to go to his home after his video security system alerted him to two intruders outside his home.

RCMP said the two intruders — a man and a woman — were outside the home in a dark-coloured Lexus SUV the homeowner did not recognize.

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The homeowner’s father got to the house in time to find the suspects driving his son’s pickup truck out of the garage. He quickly maneuvered his own vehicle to try to block in the alleged thieves.

The suspects drove around the father’s truck, though, and were fleeing in both the stolen truck and the Lexus SUV when the homeowner’s brother arrived at the home.

The father and brother then chased after the thieves in one of their vehicles, and eventually met up with a third family member who tried to use their vehicle to block the exit of the driveway.

The suspects drove through the ditch to avoid the family’s blockade and started speeding down the main road with the family members hot on their tails.

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Using their vehicles, the family members chased them to the end of a dead-end road, then waited for them to turn around and head back up the road.

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The woman driving the Lexus SUV hit the ditch and got stuck, police said. She quickly jumped out and got into the stolen truck with the man.

Police said the man approached the two family members blocking the roadway, pointed a sawed-off rifle at them and demanded they get out of the way. When they refused, he drove into the ditch, got stuck in the snow for a moment and then drove away, but not before one of the family members was able to get a photo of the man behind the wheel.

By the time police officers arrived, the suspects were gone.

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The truck is a black 2016 GMC Sierra Duramax Diesel with Alberta license plate BWL6101 and VIN 1GT42YE8XGF288853. RCMP said it will have minor damage to both the front driver and passenger sides.

Both the suspects are still at large, RCMP said Thursday evening. The Lexus SUV they’d been driving had also been stolen from Lloydminster, RCMP told Global News.

The suspects are described as a man in his mid to late 20s with a slim build, light brown hair and a moustache. He was wearing brown Carhartt clothing, a beige baseball hat with a dark brim and sunglasses at the time of the incident. The woman is described as being in her early 20s and was wearing black winter clothing and sunglasses.

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RCMP Cpl. Joe Mendel told Global News police don’t condone homeowners creating blockades or trying to chase down thieves themselves as it poses a safety risk.

“The best course of action would be to immediately exit the property and call police right away,” Mendel said.

“We don’t know if these people are armed, they could be under the influence of drugs, and a variety of situations could play out. We don’t want anyone’s safety at risk.”

RCMP are advising anyone that sees the truck or suspects not to approach them as they’re considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who spots them should instead call Sundre RCMP at 403-638-3675 or a local detachment. Anonymous tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers.