RCMP in northeast Alberta have laid 89 charges against seven people — most of them teenagers — in what police are calling a four-hour rampage.
Vermilion RCMP were first called out in the early hours of Dec. 24 to a home invasion at a rural home near Dewberry, Alta.
According to police, two males entered the home where they were confronted by the homeowner. The three got into a fight, with the homeowner managing to subdue one of the suspects until police arrived.
The second suspect — an adult male — was found nearby with the help of a police dog.
Members of the Kitscoty and Elk Point RCMP then found four more suspects in a stolen car nearby.
Home invasion was conclusion of spree
Police say the six people taken into custody were responsible for a series of criminal attacks across the region, beginning with a liquor store robbery and failed carjacking in the Cold Lake area late Monday night.
The group then successfully carjacked a second car, ousting several elderly women from their vehicle.
The carjack victims were able to describe the group to RCMP, “And a short hazardous pursuit with police ensued,” according to a police statement.
“Because they did have an idea of who their attackers were, it allowed us to focus on certain areas,” said Sgt. Mike McGinley of the Vermilion RCMP.
Police say the group – which included five teenagers and one 12-year-old – were drinking for much of the spree, which covered nearly 300 kilometres.
“You could call it alcohol fuelled. I don't think they ever stopped drinking through the whole thing,” said McGinley.
"It's amazing no one was [seriously] hurt,” he added.
“Some folks were shaken and there were minor injuries, but no one was seriously hurt. We're pleased about that because it could have… been a Christmas Eve tragedy."
Police now have six individuals, three of whom are under the age of 17, in custody where they are facing multiple property- and violence-related charges.
The 12-year-old has been released without charges, but remains under investigation.
McGinley said more charges may still be laid.
One additional suspect, a 27-year-old man from Fishing Lake, Alta., remains at large. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Dewberry is about 200 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.