Lac La Biche and Boyle RCMP are continuing to investigate a string of crimes that took place overnight from Sunday, January 12 to Monday, January 13 — all connected by the description of one suspect covering their face with a red bandana. The crimes, which appear to be connected, stretched from Lac La Biche to Wandering River.
Lac La Biche RCMP were first notified of the distinctive face-covering on a call from the Lucky Strike Bowling Lanes at 7:30 that Sunday evening. Witnesses say a suspicious vehicle — an older model grey pickup truck — was in the parking lot of the business. A man associated with the vehicle was seen walking around vehicles in the parking lot. Part of the description included a red bandana covering his face. The reports also said the suspect may have had a weapon.
Less than an hour later, RCMP were called to a downtown gas station where a motorist said someone had attempted to "car jack" their vehicle. RCMP say the suspect is reported to have got out of a silver dodge pickup and pointed a firearm at the complainant who was inside his parked vehicle. The suspect — also described as wearing a red bandana over his nose and mouth — told him to get out of the vehicle. Police say the complainant instead drove away — but was reportedly followed for a short distance by the grey dodge pickup truck.
Police arriving at the call patrolled the area, but the pickup or the suspect was not located.
Stolen at gunpoint
At midnight, Boyle RCMP responded to a robbery call at the Petro-Canada in Grassland. Police say the driver of a 2017 grey coloured Nissan Altima was taken out of his car at gunpoint, by a man described as Indigenous, about 5-foot 7 inches tall with a slim build, wearing a dark blue jacket, dark jeans, tanned leather gloves — and a red bandanna with white dots that covered the lower part of his face. A second suspect was behind the wheel of an older model green-blue GMC extended cab pickup with tinted windows which had parked behind the Altima, blocking any plans for an exit.
The man was left in the gas station parking lot as his vehicle and the pickup left the area. The Altima has an Alberta licence plate of CCG 2506.
At 1:45 that morning, Boyle RCMP were again called out to a report of an armed robbery — again with a suspect using a red bandana to cover his face, and again at a Petro Canada gas station, this time in Wandering River.
Police say n adult male opened the front door, stood in the doorway and demanded money from the till. While the employee was at the till, the suspect fired a single shot before fleeing in a dark grey Nissan Altima. Police describe the male suspect as wearing a dark hooded jacket or sweater, blue pants and a red bandana over his face, carrying what is believed to be a long barreled firearm. No injuries were sustained.
Images of suspect yet to be released
Lac La Biche and Boyle RCMP are searching for the suspects and associated vehicles involved in what is believed to be a related string of occurrences.
Lac La Biche RCMP Corp Roxanne Genereaux says security camera images of the suspects and vehicles are expected to be released to the media and public in the near future.
Anyone with information on any of the crimes can contact the Lac La Biche or Boyle RCMP detachments at 780-623-4380 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS