ROCHESTER - RCMP have laid nearly 90 charges against three people allegedly involved in a series of ATM thefts going back to September 2019.
An RCMP media release, received Nov. 27, reported a team of law enforcement officers which included the Eastern Alberta District General Investigation Section (EADGIS), the RCMP Emergency Response Team (ERT), the Hinton General Investigation Section, Western Alberta District Intel Coordinator, along with members from the Westlock, Athabasca and Redwater RCMP detachments, descended upon a Rochester property in the early afternoon hours of Nov. 17 and arrested Daniel Patrick O'Donnell of no fixed address.
This, after a two-hour pursuit the night before by EADGIS and Westlock RCMP, when they tried to arrest him on outstanding warrants. RCMP say O'Donnell "switched vehicles several times before evading police capture" that night.
O'Donnell allegedly fled from capture once again the next day in a stolen vehicle along with another man. Another pursuit was initiated by ERT; the vehicle was "disabled" and O'Donnell, along with Lorne Kyle Jack Harris of Barrhead, were taken into custody without further incident. Inside the vehicle, RCMP say they found a loaded, sawed-off shot gun and numerous rounds of ammunition.
Back at the Rochester property, officers also arrested an Athabasca woman, Charlie Louise Bronson, who was wanted on an outstanding warrant out of Barrhead.
The release stated: "EADGIS became involved in attempting to locate O’Donnell after a lengthy year long investigation into ATM thefts around the province of Alberta spanning from Sept. 2019 to Nov. 17, 2020. O’Donnell was identified as a suspect in multiple investigations and is alleged to have committed a number of crimes which resulted in significant property damage in the towns of Legal, Slave Lake, Swan Hills, Whitecourt, Edson, Athabasca, Hinton, Barrhead and the Hamlets of Niton Junction and Grand Cache. The ATM thefts were from multiple businesses including a credit union, gas stations, and a lounge."
Additionally, Harris was suspected of multiple ATM thefts that occurred between Oct. 15 and Nov. 21, 2019, which also caused extensive damage to multiple businesses in Fox Creek, Swan Hills, Whitecourt, Edson, and High Prairie.
O’Donnell, 33, is facing 60 charges from numerous RCMP detachments across Alberta, including 11 counts of participation in a criminal organization; 12 counts of break-and-enter and theft; 10 counts of disguise with intent; five counts of flight from police and seven counts of possession of stolen property.
Harris, 33, is facing 25 similar charges from numerous detachments as well, which include five counts of participation in a criminal organization; five counts of break-and-enter and theft; four counts of disguise with intent; five counts of possession of property obtained by crime; and a single charge of flight from police.
Bronson, 35, is also facing four charges relating to an ATM theft that occurred in High Prairie on Nov. 21, 2019. She faces one charge of participation in a criminal organization, along with single counts of break-and-enter and theft; disguise with intent; and possession of property obtained by crime.
RCMP also note in the release, the amount of money stolen from the eight ATM thefts was over $100,000, along with merchandise from separate instances and damages are estimated to be over $500,000.
“This investigation has resulted in over 80 charges being laid and it continues,” said Cpl. Robert Burgess of EADGIS. “We continue to collaborate with multiple RCMP detachments to bring those responsible for these crimes before the courts.”
The three accused were remanded into custody after judicial hearings with multiple court dates and locations in various jurisdictions where the crimes occurred.
EADGIS continues to investigate the ATM thefts that occurred in the towns and Hamlets noted and are asking anyone with information regarding these thefts to contact them at 780-645-8870. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the "P3 Tips" app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.