On March 22, Blackfalds RCMP responded to a complaint of shoplifting at the Synik Clothing store in Gasoline Alley. Two male suspects fled the store prior to the police arriving, with one being suspected of a theft of clothing.
Through investigation, Blackfalds RCMP learned that one of the men allegedly concealed items on his person and when confronted by staff a struggle ensued. According to the investigation findings, the man caused damage to the store while escaping the building and fleeing in a dark coloured truck.
One suspect is said to be a Caucasian male with short brown hair, jeans, black winter coat with orange lining, grey hooded sweater, grey baseball cap and black shoes with white around the soles.
The other suspect is also a Caucasian male with longer dirty blonde hair, grey baseball cap, white sunglasses with black lenses, grey jacket and dark coloured shoes.
Police are requesting that anyone who can assist in identifying either of the suspects contact Blackfalds RCMP at 403-885-3300 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.
Police warn public of scams
RCMP continue to receive complaints of extortion by libel from victims within Red Deer and area.
These situations generally involve males being approached online by females who lure them into compromising online encounters.
The female suspects then approach their victims again, claiming to have recorded the encounter and threatening to post it online unless they are paid by their victims.
“It’s difficult to lay charges in cases like this, because these online profiles are fake and often they live in different countries,” said Cpl. Sarah Knelsen with Red Deer RCMP.
“Our advice, always, is to use the privacy settings on social media accounts, to be very cautious about whom you befriend online, and to not let anyone – friends or strangers – talk you into doing anything that you wouldn’t want your family, your employer or your friends to see.”
RCMP say instances of people being talked into taking and sharing compromising photos and videos of themselves are on the rise.
“People feel safe using apps such as SnapChat, where they believe their photos are disappearing within seconds,” says Knelsen. “In reality, every time a new technology or a new update on existing technology comes along, it is followed by work-arounds by those who want to abuse it.”
RCMP suspect there may be even more instances of this type of extortion, but that victims may be too embarrassed to report it.
These are relatively new issues, brought on by the popularity of social media, and its ensuing misuse by predators. Before July 2013, there were no reported cases of extortion by libel in Red Deer and area.
“Social media has so many great benefits but, as police, we see so many examples of the dark side of it,” says Knelsen. “People need to be aware of two vital things: your online actions do not disappear, and the online world is rife with predators.”
As March is Fraud Prevention Month, RCMP would like to remind the public that, as predators continue to find creative ways to victimize trusting people, increased vigilance is necessary.
The best protection is to learn how to recognize dangerous situations and fraud and protect yourself and the vulnerable people in your life from them. For more information, check out www.antifraudcentre.ca.