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UPDATE: Charges filed in connection with long-running Camrose property theft investigation

Camrose… Four people were charged in connection with their alleged participation in a long-term investigation into property theft. Previously, almost 90 stolen vehicles, trailers, agricultural equipment and other machines were seized.

The charges were filed on May 15, 2024, ending an almost three-year investigation by the ALERT Auto Crimes unit. The investigation, known as Operation Elephant, began in 2021 following tips from the public.

Original press release: https://alert-ab.ca/update-extensive-stolen-property-recovered-in-camrose/

ALERT estimates that the recovered stolen property has an estimated value of $3.1 million. Most of the stolen property was returned to its rightful owners.

“This investigation shows that not all organized crime is related to weapons and drugs. High-value property crimes affect not only theft victims, but all Albertans due to increased insurance rates,” said Director Dean LaGrange of the Camrose Police Department.

ALERT first reported on the case in December 2022, when 17 search warrants were executed. Most of the search warrants took place in the Camrose area.

Following the search and seizure warrants, ALERT undertook the painstaking process of analyzing over 100 pieces of stolen property and worked to prepare the required documents and release information.

“Stolen farm equipment, machinery and recreational vehicles can cause incredible losses that shake the perception of safety in rural communities. While many recovered stolen items have been returned, the impact and costs remain significant,” said Insp. Angela Kemp, ALERT Edmonton.

ALERT alleges that the defendants were engaged in the acquisition of stolen property for use in business purposes that included farming and equipment rental.

The Alberta Crown Prosecution Service, working with ALERT, also secured nine residential and commercial properties under criminal statutes.

Four people were charged:

  • GayeTurnbull70 years old, is accused of possession of property obtained by crime, possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking in human beings, trafficking in property obtained by crime, conspiring to trade in property obtained by crime, laundering the proceeds of crime, tampering with vehicle number identification and attempting to possess property obtained as a result of a crime;
  • Jeffrey Roblin37 years old, is accused of possession of property obtained by crime, possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking in human beings, trafficking in property obtained by crime, conspiring to trade in property obtained by crime, laundering the proceeds of crime, tampering with vehicle number identification and attempting to possess property obtained as a result of a crime;
  • Trevor Turnbull44 years old, is accused of possession of property obtained by crime, possession of property obtained by crime for the purpose of trafficking in human beings, trafficking in property obtained by crime and laundering the proceeds of crime;
  • Kenneth Wipp53 years old, is charged with public mischief, perjury, attempted fraud, possession of property obtained by crime and unauthorized possession of a firearm.

Four defendants have been released from custody and are awaiting their next hearing scheduled for June 12, 2024 in Camrose.

Operation Elephant involved a number of partner agencies, including Camrose Police, Edmonton Police Service, Calgary Police Service, Équité Association, Vin Verification Services Corporation, Service Alberta Special Investigations Unit, Canadian Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Center (FINTRAC) and the St. Paul, Wetaskiwin, Ponoka, Rimbey, Strathcona County, St. Albert, Fort Saskatchewan, Killam and several in the F-Division, including Cut Knife.

Citizens who suspect an organized car theft or vehicle recovery can call their local police or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

The ALERT program was created and funded by the Government of Alberta and is a collection of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to combating serious and organized crime.