Calgary police seize weapons and stolen property at two encampments

Click to play video: 'Officers begin tear-down of homeless encampments in southeast Calgary'
Officers begin tear-down of homeless encampments in southeast Calgary
WATCH: A team of bylaw officers, police and social service agencies have started dismantling two homeless encampments in southeast Calgary. The process is expected to last weeks. Sarah Offin was there – May 2, 2023

Calgary police said they have seized weapons and stolen property at two “significant” encampments in the city’s southeast.

In a news release on Monday, officers said the seizures were done on two separate occasions over the past two weeks.

On April 19, officers said they discovered a John Deere Gator utility vehicle at an encampment near 58 Avenue S.E. and Burbank Road S.E. Police said the vehicle was in the bushes under a tarp camouflaged with wood.

This prompted police to search the area which led to the discovery of “copious amounts” of stolen property and weapons, including:

  • John Deere Gator, worth approximately $45,000
  • John Deere Blower, worth approximately $85,000
  • Cervelo S5 Bike
  • Airsoft handgun
  • Backpacker airsoft handgun
  • Stoeger Airsoft rifle with scope

Police said the stolen John Deere equipment was returned to their rightful owners. No arrests related to this incident have been made.

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On April 25, police located a beverage container with what seemed like bullet holes hanging in the trees on the east side of 5800 block of Deerfoot Trail S.E. Officers searched the nearby area and uncovered several encampments, according to the news release.

Click to play video: 'Stolen property, weapons seized at 2 encampments in Calgary'
Stolen property, weapons seized at 2 encampments in Calgary

The first encampment contained a stolen John Deere and a wire-stripping operation for reselling stolen copper wire.

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There were several stolen items police seized across the several encampments, including:

  • Two airsoft guns
  • One replica Glock handgun
  • One rifle with scope
  • Seven knives
  • Five throwing axes that were laying near a practice target
  • Two dirt bike motorcycles

The motorcycles have been returned to their rightful owners.

Two people were taken into custody and charged in relation to the stolen motorcycles. One person was charged in relation to the stolen John Deere.

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Another person was located but charges have not yet been laid.

Scott Boyd, superintendent for the Calgary Police Service, said he is not surprised that there were stolen equipment and weapons at the encampments.

He told Global News police there was evidence of conversion kits in the area and believes the suspects were using them to convert the airsoft guns into firearms.

“This was an area that was being used for criminality… These are individuals that were there for a criminal purpose,” Boyd said.

“While some of them may be unhoused, we were dealing with the criminal behaviour and provided support services for those individuals who may want to try to get into the existing resources in Calgary.

“It isn’t uncommon for the public who wander into the trees to access the river… It’s devastating to see the misuse of this area.”

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