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Crime does happen in St. Albert

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  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 06:00 am

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St. Albert has long enjoyed a reputation as a quiet burg removed from the big city and the crime that goes along with it. As St. Albert and the region continue to grow, however, so too does the criminal element.

St. Albert Gazette readers may have been taken aback when they came across this headline in Saturday’s edition: “St. Albert RCMP find stolen pistol during midnight patrol.” This is something that happens in the big city, not in family-friendly St. Albert.

Yet, at 12:30 a.m. on June 14, St. Albert RCMP spotted a white Lexus cruising around in Riel Business Park – suspicious because the car was travelling in a remote area where all the businesses are closed.

The RCMP eventually came upon the suspect car parked in the corner of a darkened, private parking lot on Rayborn Crescent. When the cops asked these three late-night tourists what they were doing, they responded they were from Edmonton, and just there to “smoke” and “hang out.”

Since no charges have yet been laid against these three visitors to our fine city, it’s dangerous to rush to judgment. It’s entirely possible that Edmonton has become so boring for young men that they have no choice but to drive to St. Albert, lurk in a deserted business park parking lot past midnight and smoke cigarettes. Yes, that is possible.

But there’s another possibility. Maybe, just maybe, these three young men were not tourists passing the time smoking cigarettes in a deserted business park. Perhaps they were up to no good, casing closed businesses in Riel for a law-breaking opportunity.

Oh yes, one other thing: RCMP, when investigating these three late-night visitors to St. Albert, found a .45 semi-automatic handgun lying beside the car, outside the driver’s side door. The pistol had been reported stolen. A well-armed local resident may have innocently misplaced the gun, or it fell out of the car in question entirely by accident, for example. Police haven’t released any information about how the gun came to be sitting beside the car in question.

Business owners and staff at businesses in Riel and Campbell should keep in mind that late at night, on weekends and on statutory holidays, the vacant business parks are tempting targets for criminals.

The Anthony Henday ring road has been an absolute boon to the region, in terms of spurring economic activity and ease of traffic flow. But just as commuters use it to whip around the region, so too do criminals. The Henday offers easy access and exits to Riel and Campbell, which is very appealing to unsavoury sorts.

Business owners need to try and make it difficult for these nefarious visitors. Ensure your business is well-lit, investigate alarm options, install motion-sensing lights on all sides of your property, install bars on business windows if necessary and consider locked gates for parking lots or back-areas.

Let’s send a message to the bad guys that they are not welcome in St. Albert.


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