Three central Alberta men are facing a total of 88 charges after a collision between two trucks triggered what police are describing as a complex investigation.

Around 7:20 a.m. on March 16, Ponoka RCMP were told about a two-vehicle collision near Crestomere, 45 kilometres north of Red Deer. One truck had been trying to pull another truck out of the ditch.

Thirty minutes later, RCMP learned that a Dodge truck had been stolen from the county office in Ponoka and a Chevrolet truck had been stolen near an adjacent property.

Before RCMP arrived at the collision near Crestomere, the Dodge truck — towing a trailer with two quads — was towed out of the ditch.

The Dodge left the scene with a Ford F-350 truck that had been reported stolen in Red Deer the day before, police say. The stolen Chevrolet truck was abandoned at the collision scene.

A short time later, the Dodge truck got stuck in a ditch again. When RCMP arrived, the occupants fled in the stolen Ford, leaving the Dodge behind.

RCMP later located the Ford and took three male suspects into custody without incident.

Shotgun

This shotgun, stolen from a shop in Sylvan Lake, was recovered during a complex RCMP investigation in central Alberta. (RCMP)

The Ford truck was found to be "full of stolen property," RCMP said in a news release Monday. The Chevrolet truck was also loaded with stolen property. The trailer and quads were also stolen.

RCMP retrieved a shotgun that had been stolen from a shop in Sylvan Lake.

Most of the stolen property and vehicles have been returned to their owners, RCMP said.

A 46-year-old man from Innisfail and two men from Red Deer, ages 51 and 26, face a total of 88 charges.

Police closed 12 investigations

Twelve investigations, including complaints from detachments in Ponoka, Sylvan Lake, Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House, Innisfail and Blackfalds, have been cleared with the laying of charges, police say.

"We're always grateful to the public for bringing suspicious activities to the RCMP's attention," said Staff. Sgt. Mike Numan of Ponoka RCMP in the news release.

"Thanks to the efforts of the many involved RCMP detachments and units, we were able to stop this criminal activity and provide our communities closure on these investigations."