Update: (Jan 28)
On January 27, 2015 HUYGHEBAERT, PIKE and SMITH entered guilty pleas on a number of the charges. As a result, HUYGHEBAERT and PIKE received sentences of 50 days in custody and a $100.00 Victim Surcharge each. SMITH received a sentence of 80 days in custody and a $100.00 Victim Surcharge. (Editors note: will the emotional and financial ramifications to victims be over in 50 or 80 days? Whose sentence is longer in cases like this, the perpetrators’ or the victim’s?)
On January 22, 2015 Castlegar RCMP arrested three suspects alleged to have committed multiple offences in the Castlegar area. In total, the three adult males, Leonard John HUYGHEBAERT, Andrew Genner PIKE and Gregory Alan SMITH are facing a total of 16 charges including theft under $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000, fraud under $5,000 and possession of drugs. HUYGHEBAERT and PIKE are from the Grande Prairie area and SMITH had been living in Castlegar.
The incidents are all believed to have been committed within 15 hours of the three males coming to the Castlegar area. At 10:30 a.m. on January 22, Castlegar RCMP Detachment members received a report of a theft from a vehicle which had occurred overnight. At 11:30 a.m. a report was received of a suspicious male attempting to use a credit card at a business. The employee noted the credit card had a flag on it from the issuer and went to speak to the male, who departed with the credit card. At 1:49 p.m. another victim reported a theft from a vehicle. Items taken from the vehicle included the credit card used at the previous business.
Based on the record of the transactions on the stolen credit card and information provided to police by local businesses, the suspects were found to be associated to a hotel room in Castlegar. When the one of the suspects returned to the hotel room at 3:27 p.m., he was taken into custody by police and also found to be in possession of methamphetamine. At 4:50 p.m., the other two suspects were arrested at the hotel room. Numerous stolen items and items purchased with the stolen card were recovered from the hotel room and from the suspects. Investigation also showed the suspects travelled from Alberta in a truck reported stolen from Grande Prairie. The stolen vehicle was also recovered.
The investigation is being conducted in coordination with Castlegar Detachment, Kootenay Boundary General Investigations Section and the Castlegar Crime Reduction Unit.
As a result of the charges, the three males have been held in custody. Their next court appearance is scheduled for (today) January 27, 2015 in Rossland.