4 people charged in $3.1 million Camrose theft case

Four people have been charged in connection with a theft totaling approximately $3.1 million in the Camrose area, police announced Tuesday.

The charges, filed May 15, mark the end of Operation Elephant, a three-year investigation into stolen equipment like tractors, loaders, trailers and excavators, as well as vehicles like campers, boats and quads.

The indicted group is accused of having used the stolen goods as part of its own activities, in particular for rental:

  • Gaye Turnbull, 70;
  • Jeffrey Roblin, 37;
  • Trevor Turnbull, 44; And
  • Kenneth Wipp, 53 years old.

They face various charges, including possession of property obtained by crime, falsifying a vehicle identification number and laundering the proceeds of crime. One person was charged with unauthorized possession of a firearm.

Operation Elephant was launched in 2021 after ALERT’s auto crimes unit, the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams, received information from the public.

ALERT first informed the public of the investigation in December of the following year, when it executed 17 search warrants in and around Camrose.

In total, more than 100 stolen goods were recovered by police, almost 90 of which were larger items such as machinery and vehicles.

Most of it has been returned to its rightful owners, ALERT said.

“This investigation shows that not all organized crime is linked to guns and drugs. High-value property crimes impact not only theft victims, but all Albertans through an increase in insurance rates,” Camrose Police Chief Dean LaGrange said in a statement.

“Stolen farm equipment, machinery and recreational vehicles can represent incredible losses that undermine the perception of safety in rural communities. Although many of the stolen items recovered have been returned, the impact and costs incurred are still significant,” added Insp. Angela Kemp.

The accused have been released from custody and are due to appear in Camrose court on Wednesday.