Six people charged following test drive thefts
The Calgary Police Service Auto Theft Team has charged six individuals following the theft of a vehicle during a private sale test drive.
On Wednesday, June 12, 2019, at approximately 9:30 p.m., a woman attended a residence located in Copperfield to view a vehicle, a Toyota 4Runner, which was being sold privately though an online classified site.
Approximately 15 minutes later, the owner of the vehicle accompanied the woman on a test drive of the 4Runner. Throughout the test drive, the victim noticed a Honda CR-V following his vehicle. The woman drove the vehicle outside of the city on Township Road 240 and pulled over near Rainbow Road, where she demanded the owner exit the vehicle. The Honda CR-V was still following the 4Runner and fearing for his safety, the victim exited the vehicle. Both the 4Runner and the CR-V fled the area leaving the victim on the side of the road.
A short time later, police located both vehicles near an apartment located in the 200 block of 15 Avenue S.E. Officers approached the CR-V and arrested two men and a woman. Police then entered the apartment building, where the female driver of the 4Runner, as well as two other men were arrested without incident.
Upon further investigation, it was learned that the CR-V was also stolen from a citizen during a private-sale test drive that occurred in Edgemont on Tuesday, May, 21, 2019. In that incident, suspects in a second vehicle rear-ended the CR-V during the test drive and when the victim exited the vehicle to inspect the damage, both vehicles sped away.
The following items were seized during searches related to the investigation:
- 40.1 grams of methamphetamine
- 2 grams of fentanyl
- Various rounds of ammunition
- Stolen identity documents
Six individuals are now facing charges in relation to these incidents:
- Darby Jackson BENEDICT, 23, of Calgary, has been charged with one count each of robbery, possession of property over $5,000, possession of break-in instruments, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, and five counts of breaching a recognizance.
- Al-Karim Punjari GIGA, 38, of Calgary, has been charged with one count each of possession of stolen property over $5,000, driving while disqualified, driving without insurance, and three counts of possession of stolen property under $5,000.
- Kyle David STREMICK, 34, of Calgary, has been charged with one count each of robbery, possession of stolen property over $5,000, possession of break-in instruments, and two counts of possession of a controlled substance.
- Jesse STRONGEAGLE, 24, of Calgary, has been charged with one count each of robbery, possession of stolen property over $5,000, possession of stolen property under $5,000, possession of break-in instruments, driving without insurance and possession of a controlled substance.
- MacKenzie Claire ANDERSEN, 19, of Calgary, has been charged with one count each of robbery, possession of stolen property over $5,000, possession of break-in instruments, breaching a probation order, and three counts of breaching a recognizance.
- Kamran SATTAR, 42, of Calgary, has been charged with possession of identity documents and breaching a recognizance.
Police would like to remind citizens of the following safety tips when conducting private sales of any kind:
- Arrange to meet in a public place, with many people around that is in view of CCTV cameras. The Calgary Police Service encourages citizens to use ‘Buy and Sell Zones’ which have been designated in the parking lot of each district office.
- If possible, have a friend or family member come with you.
- Speak with the buyer ahead of time and trust your gut. If their answers sound suspicious, they probably are.
- Make arrangements for the test drive ahead of time, decide on a route and ask to see identification prior to handing over the keys.
- Make note of the vehicle that the buyer arrived in and anyone else in the vehicle.