The three individuals who were captured on camera leaving the Sparwood Save on Foods with approx. $200 of groceries on Jan. 17. (Image courtesy of Elk Valley RCMP)

Extortion, fraud, COVID-complaints and collisions: RCMP update

The Elk Valley RCMP has responded to 30 COVID-19 related complaints since March last year

The Elk Valley RCMP has reported that it has received reports of extortion, fraud and COVID-19 complaints over the last few weeks.

Constable Debra Katerenchuk reported that a number of local school-age girls have come forward to say an “unknown suspect” had attempted to extort them after they have provided explicit photos of themselves over social media platform Snapchat,

“We need information to help us identify who is behind this and put a stop to it.”, said Katerenchuk, who explained that this type of extortion is also known as “sex-tortion”.

“Police ask parents and guardians to talk to their children about the risks of sharing content online and having explicit content on devices that are connected to the internet,” said Katerenchuk.

Local RCMP also reported instances of real-estate fraud happening in the valley, with Katerenchuk reporting they had received two reports of scammers “who have attempted to capitalize on the housing markets in the Elk Valley. These types of frauds come in many forms and it is crucial for you to protect your personal and financial information.

“If you suspect fraud, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will urge you to not only contact the RCMP, but also the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which will provide you with recommendations on how to protect yourself as a property owner.”

The pandemic remains front-of-mind for the RCMP as well as health authorities, with the local detachment responding to 30 COVID-19 complaint calls since March last year.

“Of that number, only one Provincial violation ticket was issued for “Promote non-compliant event,” that resulted in a $230.00 fine,” said Katerenchuk, who said the detachment was working with Liquor Licensing Inspectors and Environmental Health Inspectors to ensure Elk Valley pub/bar owners are compliant with the Provincial Health Orders. “Police will be stepping up their patrols after recent information of non compliance was received.”

In road conditions, Katerenchuk reported the Elk Valley RCMP has responded to 45 motor vehicle incidents since December 2020, with a handful resulting in minor injuries. She said that heavy snow and ice conditions were contributing factors in the large number of calls.

Finally, the RCMP are seeking information on the brazen theft of approximately $200 worth of groceries from Save On Foods in Sparwood on Jan., 19, 2021.

At around 8pm, three individuals – two women and a man – were captured on camera departing the store with the stolen goods, and were seen leaving in an older model grey van with Alberta license plates.

Anyone with information, or who recognizes the three individuals (pictured) are encouraged to contact the Elk Valley RCMP at 250-425-6233 or through Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.

READ MORE: Post box bandits run amok in Elk Valley
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