After a week-long operation patrolling the city for vehicles left unattended and running that could easily have been stolen, Calgary police targeted thieves doing just that — arresting eight people and recovering 11 vehicles worth nearly $150,000.
In December, police launched Operation Cold Start where officers spent the week looking for vehicles left running with no one inside between the hours of 6 and 8 a.m.
All told, they identified 885 vehicles left unlocked and idling.
As a follow up to that, police launched Operation Incessant, which saw officers staged around the city for two weeks in areas known for high numbers of stolen vehicles. Once a vehicle was reported stolen, police were ready to flood the area to locate the stolen vehicle.
"Unfortunately, we as a community are making it too easy for these offenders," said acting Staff Sgt. Darwin Pearce.
"We're leaving vehicles running, unattended, and it's simple for somebody to come along. Because it's so easy, the offender are targeting this, they're driving around community in an already stolen vehicle, targeting other vehicles."
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Just this week, 23 vehicles were reported stolen in Calgary after being left running and unattended, including four on Friday morning.
Pearce said about 90 per cent of stolen vehicles are recovered, often after being used to commit other crimes.
Charges ranging from vehicle theft, possession of stolen property over $5,000, possession of a stolen credit card, possession of other identifying documents, obstruction of a peace officer, identity fraud, driving while disqualified, possession of a controlled substance and various breaches of recognizance, have been laid against:
- A 14-year-old boy (who can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act).
- A 15-year-old boy (who can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act ).
- Joshua Dale Vaughn, 19.
- Ian Edward Morris, 27.
- Sage Bryanna Bartman, 21.
- Samantha Lyn O'Brien, 26.
- Blake Dustin Jedynak, 21.
Charges are also pending against an eighth person arrested during the operation.
Warrants have been issued for Bartman and Morris.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 403-266-1234 or Crime Stoppers.
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