Grande Prairie home ordered closed following SCAN investigation

Grande Prairie home ordered closed following SCAN investigation

June 10, 2013

SCAN seeking revised order after owner charged before the closure date

Grande Prairie…A problem home in Grande Prairie was ordered closed and vacated for six weeks following an investigation by ALERT’s Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) unit.

SCAN began investigating 12613 105 Street in late October 2012 after the unit received public complaints about criminal activity, including drug trafficking, at the property. After informal efforts to resolve the concerns were unsuccessful, SCAN obtained a Community Safety Order (CSO) on June 3.

Before the closure came into effect, SCAN obtained new information that led ALERT’s Grande Prairie Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU) to arrest and charge the property owner, 42-year-old Timothy John FERGUSON, on June 5. FERGUSON is charged with one count of possession of a stolen credit card, two counts of possession of property obtained by crime, and 10 counts of use of a stolen credit card.

Also charged is 36-year-old Grande Prairie resident Curtis Donald SALE. He faces two counts of possession of property obtained by crime, and 10 counts of use of a stolen credit card.

While SALE was released on bail, FERGUSON was held in custody until his next court appearance on June 10 in Grande Prairie. This investigation is ongoing, and further charges may be laid.

As a result of these recent developments, SCAN is proceeding with an application to the court to extend the closure to 90 days. As this process is expected to take a few weeks, SCAN has shut down the property in accordance with the existing CSO.

During the current six-week closure period, the owner must vacate the house and the property will be secured, including the installation of a fence around the perimeter. On July 23, the owner can return to the property, but no one else can enter or occupy the property without SCAN’s advanced written consent until September 2.

After September 2, the CSO will remain in effect until April 2014, during which time the owner must receive approval from the SCAN unit before renting out any room in the property to a tenant. The prospective tenant must complete a written application, provide references, and enter into a written tenancy agreement.

Throughout the investigation, SCAN members worked closely with the Grande Prairie RCMP and CFSEU-Grande Prairie. This property has presented an ongoing problem for police, with over 43 calls for service between February 2011 and April 2013.

FERGUSON was also charged as part of a CFSEU-Grande Prairie investigation in August of 2012, with his next court appearance on those charges scheduled for September 2013. In that instance, he faces three counts of possession of stolen property over $5,000 and one count of possession of stolen credit cards.

While police deal with criminal complaints against people, SCAN investigators use civil legislation to target problem properties around the province used for illegal purposes such as prostitution, drug use and trafficking, and gang activity. SCAN conducts investigations into residences and commercial properties in both urban and rural areas.

Between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013, the public submitted 305 complaints regarding problem properties province-wide, of which SCAN resolved 268. This includes seven CSOs levied against problem properties.

Albertans who suspect illegal activity is occurring at a property in their neighbourhood can contact SCAN online at www.alert-ab.ca/scan or toll-free at 1-866-960-SCAN (7226). All complaints are confidential. Residents are reminded never to investigate suspected problem properties on their own.

Made up of Alberta Sheriffs, SCAN is an ALERT team established and funded by the Government of Alberta to bring together the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources to tackle serious and organized crime. Over 400 municipal police, RCMP and sheriffs work for ALERT.

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Media inquiries may be directed to:
Karleen Schenkey
SCAN North Investigator
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)
780-699-8767

Jill Baird
Communications
Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT)
780-509-3028

Members of the public who suspect drug or gang activity in their community can call local police, or contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
Crime Stoppers is always anonymous.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.