Police charge four after multiple vehicles stolen during test drives
The Calgary Police Service has laid over 60 charges against four individuals and recovered over $300,000 worth of vehicles after a three-month investigation into vehicles being stolen during test drives arranged through online classified ads.
In each case, people using an online classified ad site to privately sell their vehicle were contacted by a suspect claiming to be a potential buyer. A meeting was then arranged in a public location to check out the vehicle. The suspect then asked for a test drive and made up a reason for the victim to momentarily step out of the vehicle. Once the victim stepped out, the suspect drove the vehicle away.
The vehicles taken ranged from average pickup trucks, to luxury sport utility vehicles and, in one incident, a Bentley luxury car. In the last incident on Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, the vehicle owner tried to prevent the theft by attempting to climb back into the moving vehicle. The vehicle hit a curb hard and rolled onto its side before the victim could get inside, pinning him underneath it. He was transported to hospital in serious but stable condition and has since been released.
As part of a citywide investigation into these incidents, police executed two search warrants on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015. One was at a residence in the 500 block of Auburn Bay Heights S.E., and the other was in the 3000 block of Rundleson Road N.E. Two individuals were taken into custody.
On Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, police executed a third search warrant in the 700 block of Auburn Bay Boulevard S.E. and three individuals were taken into custody, with one later being released without charge.
During the investigation and search warrants, investigators seized a total of nine stolen vehicles with a combined value of over $315,000, five stolen licence plates and documents that can assist with giving vehicles a new vehicle identification number.
It is believed that the individuals were stealing the vehicles for personal use and that they are also connected to multiple gas thefts around the city that occurred during the same period. At this time, it does not appear there is a connection to any larger organized crime groups or to the drug trade.
Alexandre Alfred BECK-QUENNEVILLE, 23, of Calgary, is charged with 10 counts of possession of stolen property under $5,000, 10 counts of breaching a court order, nine counts of theft under $5,000, nine counts of operating a motor vehicle without insurance, six counts of possession of stolen property over $5,000, one count of theft of a motor vehicle and one count of conspiracy to commit theft of a motor vehicle.
Kirk Leslie NAZIEL, 28, of Calgary, is charged with six counts of theft of a motor vehicle and one count each of conspiracy to commit theft of a motor vehicle, hit and run causing injury, dangerous driving causing bodily harm and possession of a controlled substance.
Christina Louise RAMCHUK, 26, of Calgary, is charged with three counts of possession of stolen property over $5,000, two counts of possession of stolen property under $5,000 and one count of operating a motor vehicle without insurance.
Lacey Victoria Cecile TIEDEMANN, 22, of Calgary, is charged with one count each of possession of stolen property over $5,000, uttering a forged document, altering a vehicle identification number and operating a motor vehicle without insurance.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about these or similar incidents that has not already spoken to police is asked to contact the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234, or Crime Stoppers anonymously using any of the following methods: