RCMP from Edmonton and Strathcona County have laid charges but continue to investigate – after tips from the public lead to the recovery of stolen equipment, valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

RCMP in Strathcona County said search warrants had been executed at three rural properties, two in Lamont County, one in Strathcona County, and a business property in Fort Saskatchewan.

Early Wednesday afternoon, RCMP said they had also executed search warrants at two other rural properties, in Strathcona County and Beaver County near Tofield.

The investigation began after someone noticed suspicious items, and called police.

“This is a textbook example of a small piece of information came in that we followed up on, and it ended up being so big and snowballing, and leading to all this property recovered,” RCMP Cst. Wally Henry said.

In recent weeks, dozens of stolen items were seized ranging from industrial equipment such as skid steers, an electric welder, parts from Caterpillars, a generator and chain saws, to a number of Alberta license plates, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles and trailers.

However, other unusual items were seized.

“We’ve seized everything from school buses to skid steers, chainsaws, all-terrain vehicles,” Henry said. “The stolen items have come from every corner of the province.

“The quads actually were stolen from Selkirk, Manitoba.”

Also recovered were a semi-automatic rifle and ammunition, and two long-barreled rifles, all of which were not stored safely.

The stolen equipment came from properties and businesses in Edmonton, Camrose, Calgary, Crossfield, Grande Prairie, Red Deer and other locations.

The total value of the equipment seized has been pegged at about $420,000.

Police said to date, six search warrants had been executed, and a total of six people face a number of stolen property charges:

  • Richard Kennedy, 52, of Ardrossan – who also faces two counts of unsafe storage of a firearm
  • Robert Grouette, 59, of Lamont County
  • Skip Davison, 28, of Tofield – who also faces three charges of removing a vehicle identification number
  • David Spilchen, 25 of Tofield
  • Kassandra Schimmens, 23, of Sherwood Park – she has also been charged with unsafe storage of a firearm
  • Barry Clarke, 25, of Tofield

The accused have a number of court dates, scheduled to appear in Sherwood Park Provincial Court, between July 25 and August 22.

Investigators said although the items stolen are similar, it’s believed three groups were working independently.

With files from David Ewasuk