Nearly five months after officers pulled over a reportedly stolen cube van, Edmonton police say 130 charges have been laid against three people after stolen IDs, credit cards and valuables were found inside, and that they believe the thefts were part of a three-year crime spree in Western Canada.
On Tuesday, police released photos of some of the stolen collectibles and personal items recovered in their investigation, in the hopes of returning them to their rightful owners.
Police said officers pulled over a U-Haul truck in the early morning hours of Jan. 25 in the area of 118 Avenue and 103 Street. They said it was determined to be stolen after it was rented in Innisfail, Alta., through the use of allegedly stolen identity documents.
“As a result of the vehicle stop, officers recovered a large quantity of allegedly fraudulent documents and stolen property, including mail, financial documents, credit cards, forged identity documents and stolen identity documents, such as driver’s licences and social insurance cards,” police said in a news release on Tuesday. “Investigators also recovered break-and-enter tools.
“With the assistance of the Innisfail RCMP and Calgary Police Service, a second vehicle that was reportedly stolen by way of identity theft in Calgary was also recovered in Innisfail.”
Watch below: Some Global News videos about identity theft.
Police said they believe the items they recovered may have been stolen in what they believe was a crime spree that began in late 2016 and ended in early 2019, one that spanned significant parts of B.C. and Alberta, including Squamish, Surrey, Delta, Langley, Vancouver, Okotoks, Calgary and Edmonton.
“Among the recovered personal items were numerous pieces of jewelry, specialty spoons, comic books, stamps and a camera,” police said. “Police believe that these items, along with many of the recovered identity and financial documents, were stolen during break and enters or thefts from vehicles.”
Police said some of the items have been returned but many remain unclaimed.
You can view some of the items police are still seeking the owners of in the gallery below.
More photos of the recovered stolen property can be found on the Edmonton Police Service’s Pinterest page. Anyone who believes the stolen property may belong to them is encouraged to email EPSPinterest@edmontonpolice.ca.
Police said Tuesday that they have laid 130 charges against 32-year-old Jason Fletcher, 37-year-old Adam Laderoute and 30-year-old Jennilee Weiler, in connection with the thefts.
“Discovering large quantities of stolen or forged identity and financial documents, in the course of conducting stolen property investigations, is unfortunately becoming increasingly common,” Const. Brendan Power said in a statement. “Often citizens may be unaware that their identity documents are being used to commit crimes, including frauds and thefts.
“Unfortunately these documents are frequently not reported missing or stolen to police… reporting can significantly reduce the time it takes to return these documents and other property to their rightful owners.”
Anyone with information about stolen property or ID in connection with this investigation is asked to call the Edmonton Police Service at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.