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Charges laid after animal cruelty complaint

A Pincher Creek resident faces animal cruelty charges resulting from a complaint received by police Saturday.

Pincher Creek RCMP say a 34-year-old man was arrested and charged with wilfully killing, maiming, wounding or injuring an animal, and with wilfully causing unnecessary pain, suffering or injury to an animal.

The accused was remanded in custody after a bail hearing, and is set to appear Thursday in Alberta court of justice in Pincher Creek.

 

 

Gavel rests on sounding block on a table.

Bail hearing for Michael Patterson pushed back four weeks

A 35-year-old Pincher Creek man, accused of setting fires that destroyed two buildings in the community Jan. 9, will remain in custody until at least Feb. 15.

Michael Patterson, who appeared for a bail hearing Thursday, Jan. 18, via closed-circuit television from Lethbridge Correctional Centre, is charged with two counts of arson and separate charges of assaulting a peace officer with a weapon and disarming/attempting to disarm a peace officer.

Citing the Crown’s opposition to Patterson’s immediate release back into the community, defence counsel Vincent Guinan made an application to adjourn the matter for four weeks. The motion was approved by Justice Grace Auger. 

Patterson confirmed to the court his willingness to remain in custody, known as remand by consent, until his next appearance, also to be by video link, Feb. 15 in Pincher Creek court of justice.

 

Table setting of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.
Electrical sparks fly as a building burns.

Arson behind destruction of home and business, authorities say

A Pincher Creek man is before the courts after two buildings in the community were destroyed by fire in separate incidents Jan. 9.

Michael Patterson, 35, is charged with two counts of arson in connection with blazes that broke out just minutes apart at Dano’s Hydro Heaven, at the corner of East Avenue and Kettles Street downtown, and inside a home in the 600 block of Adelaide Street.

Investigation indicated that accelerants had been used at both locations, Pincher Creek RCMP said.

Patterson also faces charges of assaulting a peace officer with a weapon and disarming/attempting to disarm a peace officer at the time of his arrest while fleeing the scene of the residential fire.

Specific details have yet to be released, but witnesses to the downtown fire said they heard a large blast just after 5 p.m., the impact buckling the west wall of the hydroponics business.

Fire crews arriving on scene faced a fully involved blaze and could do little to save the building. Their efforts prevented the fire’s spread to other businesses and homes.

 

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Firefighter hoses down blaze at Dano's Hydro Heaven in Pincher Creek

Photo by Cary Robison

 

A nearby connection hub that provides Shaw phone and internet service was damaged, resulting in a community-wide outage for Shaw customers that lasted into Wednesday. 

Flames and smoke from the house fire, at its height, could be seen for several blocks east and west.

While no estimates were given, damage to the two destroyed buildings is likely in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Patterson was to make his first court appearance Jan. 11 via closed circuit video, but “wasn’t able to be produced,” duty counsel Vincent Guinan told Justice J.N. LeGrandeur in Pincher Creek court of justice during a scheduled bail hearing.

Patterson was under guard in a Lethbridge hospital but there was no indication of his condition.

His court appearance was rescheduled for Monday in Lethbridge.

 

 

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Flames engulf black silhouette of Dano's Hydro Heaven in Pincher Creek

Alleged arsonist misses court appearance

Michael Patterson, scheduled to appear in Pincher Creek court of justice today on arson charges, was a no-show.

Duty counsel Vincent Guinan told Justice J.N. LeGrandeur that Patterson, expected to attend via closed-circuit television, “wasn’t able to be produced.”

Reportedly under guard at Chinook Regional Hospital in Lethbridge, Patterson’s condition is unknown.

The 35-year-old Pincher Creek man is charged with two counts of arson after separate fires were reported at a home and a business around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Pincher Creek Emergency Services was called first to a fire at Dano’s Hydro Heaven at the corner of East Avenue and Kettles Street in downtown Pincher Creek and minutes later to a house fire in the 600 block of Adelaide Street.

The structures were destroyed and Pincher Creek RCMP said in a press release Thursday that the investigation revealed accelerant use in both instances.

RCMP said Patterson was apprehended while fleeing the scene of the residential fire. Along with arson, he was charged with assaulting a peace officer with a weapon and disarming/attempting to disarm a peace officer.

The court has also processed a no-contact order against the accused.

A show-cause hearing, which will determine if Patterson can be released from custody, has been rescheduled for Monday, Jan. 15, in Lethbridge.

 

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RCMP officer in cruiser speaks to arson suspect in the back seat

Arson charges laid in Pincher Creek fires

Michael Patterson, 35, of Pincher Creek has been charged with two counts of arson after separate fires destroyed a home and a business on Jan. 9.

Pincher Creek Emergency Services was called first to a fire at Dano’s Hydro Heaven at the corner of East Avenue and Kettles Street in downtown Pincher Creek and minutes later to a house fire in the 600 block of Adelaide Street.

The structures were completely destroyed and investigation revealed accelerant use in both instances, Pincher Creek RCMP said.

Patterson was apprehended by police while fleeing the scene of the residential fire, RCMP said. Along with arson, he is charged with assaulting a peace officer with a weapon and disarming/attempting to disarm a peace officer.

Patterson was remanded into custody after a judicial interim release hearing and appears in court today, Jan. 11, 2024.

 

Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta

 

 

 

 

Dano's Hydro Heaven in Pincher Creek fully engulfed in flames in the darkness on Jan. 9, 2023.

Pincher Creek fire crews respond to two fires just minutes apart

An investigation is underway into the cause of two fires late Tuesday afternoon in Pincher Creek.

The blazes, reported just minutes apart, happened at a home in the 600-block of Adelaide Street and a business at the corner of East Avenue and Kettles Street.

“This one [Dano’s Hydro Heaven] was our first reported structure fire on which we received multiple call-ins,” explained fire Chief Pat Neumann Tuesday evening. “As we arrived on scene, we got reports of a second structure fire.”

Officials are looking into a possible connection.

While more details are expected in the coming days, Neumann confirmed the first 911 calls of the downtown blaze came in at about 5:05 p.m.

Smoke and, eventually, flames could be seen coming from the building following a large blast that buckled its west wall. This gained the attention of people at nearby businesses, including staff at Canada Post, and those walking in the area.

 

 

Neumann said Pincher Creek Emergency Services crews from Pincher Creek, Beaver Mines and Lundbreck were called out. Mutual aid was also provided on the house fire by Cowley Fire Rescue, while paramedics from Pincher Creek and Peigan District Ambulance Service in Brocket were dispatched to administer medical aid.

RCMP from Pincher Creek and the Piikani Nation were also at the scene of both fires to help with traffic control.

Witnesses report seeing a handcuffed male inside a police cruiser near the Adelaide Street blaze, but authorities have yet to confirm if the person or persons responsible have been taken into custody.

Both structures were completely destroyed and, at this point, it’s too early to determine the cost of damage in either case.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

 

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Pincher Creek Emergency Services on scene of two separate fires

Fire, ambulance and RCMP in Pincher Creek are on full alert at this hour after two separate blazes broke out in the community late Tuesday afternoon.

While exact details have yet to be confirmed by authorities, Shootin’ the Breeze can report that a home in the 600-block of Adelaide Street and a business at the corner of East Avenue and Kettles Street are fully ablaze and both have been completely destroyed.

For now, RCMP have closed off streets near the fires to keep the public safely away from any dangers.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

 

 

Dano's Hydro Heaven in Pincher Creek engulfed in flames.

Dano’s Hydro Heaven in Pincher Creek has been destroyed by fire.

Photo by Dennis Robin

Billows of flame and smoke from a fire at Dano's Hydro Heaven in Pincher Creek on Jan. 9

Fire engulfed Dano’s Hydro Heaven, at the corner of East Avenue and Kettles Street, shortly after 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 9. This photo, taken just after 6 p.m., shows large flames behind RBC on Main Street even an hour later.

Photo by Dave Lueneberg

Flames light a dark blue sky from a home burning on Adelaide Street in Pincher Creek on Jan. 9.

Structure fire in the 600-block of Adelaide Street, as seen from the Hewetson Avenue bridge.

Photo by Dave Lueneberg

 

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Police officer silhouette in front of red and blue lights

Alberta RCMP reminds everyone to enjoy the holiday season safely

The holiday season is upon us, and that means lots of time celebrating with family and friends. While the holidays are often a time of indulgence, it’s important to still keep safety in mind.

On Saturday, Dec. 2, in support of National Impaired Driving Enforcement Day, officers will be out conducting traffic enforcement initiatives and check stops, and removing impaired drivers from our roadways. Together, we can all do our part to keep Alberta roadways safe.

The Alberta RCMP asks motorists to remember the following:

— Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is never okay. Impaired driving is both criminal and dangerous.

— Mandatory Alcohol Screening is used by Alberta RCMP to deter and detect impaired drivers. If you are pulled over or at a check stop, you can expect to provide a breath sample.

— Individuals with a Graduated Driver’s Licence must abide by the zero-tolerance law (Government of Alberta, 2023).

 

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— Impaired driving is always preventable and can always be avoided. Call a taxi or rideshare service, use a designated driver, or stay the night.

— If you are attending a party and have consumed drugs or alcohol, do not drive. Find a safe ride home or a safe place to spend the night.

— Party hosts aren’t off the hook. If your guests have been drinking or using drugs, make sure they have a safe place to stay or a sober ride home.

— Call 911 immediately if you witness or suspect impaired driving.

“This December, and always, remember to enjoy the holidays responsibly. If you are attending a party, make sure you have a sober ride home or a safe place to spend the night,” reminds Sgt. Darrin Turnbull. 

“Last year, in Alberta RCMP jurisdictions, we responded to 233 fatal collisions, of which approximately 25 per cent involved alcohol or drugs. 

Alberta RCMP also removed 7,573 impaired drivers from Alberta roadways, that’s the equivalent of more than 20 impaired drivers per day.”

For more traffic safety information, follow us on Facebook @RCMPinAlberta and Twitter @RCMPAlberta, along with the hashtag #DecemberToRemember.

 

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RCMP logo

Pincher Creek RCMP arrest pair for copper thefts

Mounties in Pincher Creek have laid charges against two men believed to be linked to a string of recent copper thefts.

46-year-old Johannes Jorgensen from Lundbreck and Daniel Price, 57, of Pincher Creek were arrested Monday night after a call to police of two individuals stripping wire from a wind turbine.

RCMP contend the thefts have resulted in several hundred thousand dollars in damage and have impacted drinking-water supplies.

Charges against the pair include break and enter, theft over $5,000, possession of break-in instruments and two offences under the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act.

Jorgensen and Price are scheduled to appear in the Alberta Court of Justice in Pincher Creek on Nov. 30.

 

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T

Updated photo of missing Crowsnest Pass youth Tristen Newton. White male with very short, light brown hair, wearing black hoodie.

Missing Crowsnest Pass Youth located safe

UPDATE: Nov. 24, 2023

Crowsnest Pass RCMP have confirmed that Tristen Newton has been located and is safe.

 

Original report: Nov. 22, 2023

Tristen Newton of Bellevue has been missing since Nov. 18 and is believed to be in the Pincher Creek area of southwestern Alberta.

Crowsnest Pass RCMP say the 16-year-old youth was last seen in Frank on Saturday. He was wearing a grey T-shirt, burgundy sweatpants, blue Vans and possibly a black Playboy hoodie.

Tristen has blonde hair and blue eyes and is described as being about 4′ 11″ and 130 pounds.

If you have information about Tristen’s whereabouts, please contact Crowsnest Pass RCMP at 403-562-2867, or your local police service.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the P3 Tips app available through the Apple App or Google Play stores. To report crime online, or for access to RCMP news and information, download theAlberta RCMP app.

 

Pig roast at wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.

 

Thief in black balaclava and jacket peeks into a house around a white door.

Thefts in MD of Pincher Creek an unfortunate part of rural life

Although maybe not discussed as much as roads and water supply, rural crime continues to play a part in the lives of residents in the MD of Pincher Creek.

For Kimberly Hurst, who attended last Thursday’s Coffee With Council, it’s a topic she is very passionate about. A provincial director for Citizens on Patrol, she is active in the local chapter and with another prevention tool, Rural Crime Watch.

So, what is the difference?

“Citizens on Patrol is a much more active role, where we’re out actively patrolling your community,” Hurst explains. “Rural Crime Watch is neighbours keeping an eye on neighbours. Watching for what is and isn’t normal.”

While some might say they never see the RCMP out on patrol where they live, Hurst believes it’s unrealistic, with a large municipality, for police or bylaw officers to be everywhere.

“We need to assist them in taking ownership of communities and our areas and helping where we can,” she says. “For us to ask them to do all of that themselves, it’s not possible.”

 

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Theft in rural areas can range from a vehicle being stolen in the middle of the day, when an owner isn’t home or is preoccupied, to machinery or equipment containing copper being pawned for its value. Hurst feels that’s where the two citizen-led programs show their value.

Although COP or COPS, the acronym for Citizens on Patrol, is traditionally in larger centres like Lethbridge or Calgary, it can be just as beneficial to rural settings, as well. More often than not, it is neighbours watching out for neighbours that bring the best results.

Like RCMP, Hurst feels a lot of the crimes, particularly vehicle thefts, can be prevented with one simple thing: taking your keys with you.

“We need to take ownership and take the keys out of our vehicles,” she emphasizes. “We need to lock our houses. We need to take our garage door remotes and not leave them in the car.”

With more and more garages connected to the home, remotes can be used to get inside the home.

“If a thief gets into your garage, chances are the door that leads into your home isn’t locked. Just simple things you can do to prevent a crime,” she adds.

 

 

 

Along the same lines, on Nov. 30, the RCMP detachment in Pincher Creek is hosting its own town hall discussion on rural crime.

“It’s something we try to do every fall,” Sgt. Ryan Hodge explains. “It’s a way for us to connect with the community. Get some feedback from residents. Hear their concerns.”

Among the items to be shared is what the RCMP are doing to reduce crime. The subject, Hodge agrees, is not unique to our part of the world.

“That’s something that’s normal across the country, across our province,” he says. “

, unfortunately, is a regular occurrence.”

Like Hurst, Hodge believes being vigilant, knowing what’s happening around you, is the best way to fight crime.

“We need people to call us and let us know,” he says. “If it ends up being nothing, that’s OK, but if it ends up being new information that we need or we’ve been waiting for, it can be the difference between solving a file or not.”

 

 

In fact, help from the public earlier in the fall resulted in charges against one person in a rash of vehicle thefts, Sgt. Hodge added.

“I would encourage people to take it one step further and join Rural Crime Watch. You get a lot more alerts from us. You get a lot more information and the ability to share more freely with us.”

Next Thursday’s RCMP town hall is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. inside the MD’s council chambers on Herron Street, just off Highway 6.

 

 

 

Jalessa Joy Crazy Bull, teenaged Indigenous girl with shoulder-length brown hair and braces. Missing from Piikani Nation.

Missing Piikani Teen – Jalessa Joy Crazy Bull

RCMP on the Piikani Nation are appealing for the public’s help in finding a missing 17-year-old girl.

Jalessa Joy Crazy Bull was last seen in Brocket at noon this past Monday, Nov. 20. Authorities are worried for the teen’s well-being and would like to speak with her.

Jalessa Joy is described as being about 5 feet, 1 inch tall and weighing 95 pounds. She has brown hair with black tips, and brown eyes. It’s believed she was wearing black clothing, including a thin black sweater.

Anyone with information of Jalessa Joy’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Piikani Nation RCMP detachment at 403-965-2000. 

You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), if you wish to remain anonymous or go online to www.P3Tips.com.

 

 

Updated photo of missing Crowsnest Pass youth Tristen Newton. White male with very short, light brown hair, wearing black hoodie.

Missing Crowsnest Pass Youth located safe

UPDATE: Nov. 24, 2023

Crowsnest Pass RCMP have confirmed that Tristen Newton has been located and is safe.

 

Original report: Nov. 22, 2023

Tristen Newton of Bellevue has been missing since Nov. 18 and is believed to be in the Pincher Creek area of southwestern Alberta.

Crowsnest Pass RCMP say the 16-year-old youth was last seen in Frank on Saturday. He was wearing a grey T-shirt, burgundy sweatpants, blue Vans and possibly a black Playboy hoodie.

Tristen has blonde hair and blue eyes and is described as being about 4′ 11″ and 130 pounds.

If you have information about Tristen’s whereabouts, please contact Crowsnest Pass RCMP at 403-562-2867, or your local police service.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the P3 Tips app available through the Apple App or Google Play stores. To report crime online, or for access to RCMP news and information, download theAlberta RCMP app.

 

 

Exterior of Pincher Creek RCMP detachment

Rural property crime on the radar for Pincher RCMP

RCMP in Pincher Creek dealt with an uptick in property crime during the month of September, particularly in the outlying areas.

“People are going in and checking rural properties that, maybe, aren’t occupied all the time. Going into shops, outbuildings, and then stealing vehicles and equipment,” Sgt. Ryan Hodge tells Shootin’ the Breeze.

One of the targets last month was summer cabins.

“I think it’s a little bit the time of the year. People with seasonal properties here are typically closing up or leaving for the year, but it’s also just a matter of having certain criminals coming into our area who are looking for opportunities, Hodge continues.

“Definitely watch for suspicious vehicles or people, of course, checking out properties, coming in and out of places where they normally wouldn’t be. Most of our rural residents and ranchers know who belongs where and if it seems suspicious, give us a call and we’ll try to follow up as best we can.”

RCMP believe most thefts can be prevented with a couple of simple rules.

“The biggest thing is keeping things locked up, keys out of vehicles and valuables secured somewhere,” Hodge says.

 

 

For rural property owners, he believes good lighting is always a deterrent for a thief.

“A lot of people like the cover of darkness, so if you were to remove that, they’re less likely to be there.”

Another suggestion is video surveillance.

“Video cameras have come so far in the last few years. They are a real benefit to us,” Hodge says.

“A lot of the time when we are figuring out who our suspects are, some kind of recording, like a doorbell camera or other security camera, or even somebody taking a picture on a phone, helps us to identify the person.”

A list of prevention strategies from Alberta RCMP can be viewed online at bit.ly/3PRppuE.

As always, if you see something suspicious, RCMP encourage you to call.

If you see a crime in progress, you’re asked to dial 911. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, go online to P3Tips.com, or download the P3 Tips mobile app.