November 13, 2015 - 12:46 PM
THOMSON-OKANAGAN - An Okanagan-based theft ring with a taste for Ford F-350 pickup trucks has been busted by police.
Seven people have been charged with multiple offences after a seven-week investigation by the Kelowna RCMP street enforcement unit, RCMP spokesman Const. Jesse O’Donaghey said during a press conference today, Nov. 13.
An upswing in Ford F-350 thefts and several stolen vehicles noticed on a rural property in the 7000-block of Highway 97 in Peachland triggered the investigation, O'Donaghey said.
During the investigation, police recovered an unspecified number of stolen vehicles, mainly Ford pick-up trucks, stolen from Kelowna, Vernon, Lee Creek, Spallumcheen, Armstrong, Dawson Creek and Calgary, Alta.
Police had their work cut out for them making the arrests, O'Donaghey added. On Oct. 31, after locating a stolen F-350 outside a house on Kelowna’s Mugford Road, police tried to arrest one suspect during a traffic stop.
The 21-year-old suspect failed to stop for police, abandoned the vehicle and took off into the Mackenzie Bench area of Rutland where a police service dog later tracked him down.
Police have recoved $240,000 worth of stolen property, including a flatdeck trailer, a Volvo skid steer and a Bobcat loader.
O’Donaghey said the suspects were organized but stopped short of calling them gang-affiliated.
The gender or identifty of the suspects were not released but between them, they face 32 counts including possession of stolen property, theft over $5,000, flight from police, break and enter and possession of a controlled substance.
The 21-year-old West Kelowna man was released on bail.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015