6 people arrested after Portage la Prairie liquor store robbed by masked thieves
RCMP seized more than 40 bottles of alcohol from the vehicle and towed the truck
A number of people are facing charges after a Portage la Prairie, Man., liquor store was robbed by masked thieves Thursday evening, RCMP said in a news release.
Mounties were called to the Liquor Mart on Saskatchewan Avenue just before 6 p.m.
Witnesses told police a group of people wearing Halloween masks walked in, stole a number of bottles of alcohol and drove away in a white truck.
The licence plate number was given to police, who passed the information on to other units in the area.
An officer with the Manitoba First Nations Police Service found the truck and stopped it in the area of Road 71 N. and Road 35 W.
RCMP caught up with them and, after a search, seized more than 40 bottles of alcohol from the vehicle and towed the truck.
Four adults and two teenagers were arrested and face charges of wearing a disguise to commit an offence and theft under $5,000. RCMP say five of the suspects are from Winnipeg.
This theft comes as liquor store thefts across the province are at an all-time high, especially in Winnipeg.
Liquor Marts in Winnipeg are robbed a total of 10 to 20 times a day, said Const. Jay Murray of the Winnipeg Police Service.
"It's almost like liquor has become a form of currency in the criminal underworld here in Winnipeg. It's certainly being shopped as such on social media platforms," Murray said.
Sgt. Paul Manaigre of the Manitoba RCMP said Mounties are doing what they can, and tips like the ones given in the Portage la Prairie bust help a lot.
"We recognize that the increase of liquor store thefts is concerning to the public and we want to assure Manitobans that our officers will continue to rapidly respond and to lay charges against those responsible."
Manaigre says it wasn't the first time this liquor mart was robbed, and he believes the suspects are responsible for other robberies.
"The officers in these communities that are investigating this, they get frustrated," he told CBC News. "So when you do make that arrest in something that is kind of continuous, absolutely, it's satisfying."
With files from Marianne Klowak