NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Baffling Yellowknife crimes
Yellowknifer checks into odd unlawful activity from the past

Miranda Scotland
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, July 26, 2012

Staff at Nova Court were surprised last year when thieves swooped into the hotel lobby and snatched an ATM machine while the front desk clerk was distracted.

NNSL photo/graphic

A bylaw officer and tow truck driver stand near a snowmobile that was abandoned by a man near Hwy 4 in a 2010 incident. The man stole the machine after tackling a bylaw officer that was chasing him for speeding on Frame Lake. - NNSL file photo

"It was well thought out whoever did it," an employee said recently.

A man staying on the second floor of the hotel called the clerk upstairs at about 3 a.m. to clean up a mess, which turned out to be just a bunch of napkins strewn across the floor.

During that time, two men drove up to the hotel in an SUV and came into the lobby with a dolly and bolt cutters, according to the owner of the ATM company, Alan Cunningham. They removed the ATM from the wall, put it on the cart, then into their truck and drove off. When the police went to question the man on the second floor, he was also gone.

Cunningham said the ATM, owned by his company Alanco Holding Ltd., weighed a couple of hundred pounds and luckily had very little money in it at the time of the incident. The machine was found at the cemetery a few days after the incident but the suspects have yet to be caught.

Police said a few people have been identified as persons of interest in the case and the investigation is ongoing.

"It just kind of baffles me," said Cunningham. "They know the person on the second floor, they've got his name, credit card number, home address all that kind of stuff It's very disheartening when they have all that information and they can't seem to make an arrest or any headway in the case."

Still, in the 12 years Cunningham has been in the ATM business, he hasn't seen anything else like the incident.

"I was very surprised. It was what we consider to be a very safe location because there is someone sitting at the desk 24 hours a day," he said, adding he's beefed up security on the machines since then. "We've changed the way we install them to the wall where we have to and they are much more secure now so I don't think we would ever have to worry about it again."

Fast and furious on Old Airport Road

Police arrested a man recently for posting a video on YouTube two years ago allegedly showing him speeding and weaving recklessly through traffic on the streets of Yellowknife.

Keaton Roy of Fort Smith and Edson, Alta., is charged with dangerous driving and is expected to appear in court on July 31 in Yellowknife.

In the video, which was posted in September 2010, a car is seen speeding down Old Airport Road past Borden Drive and onto Hwy 3.

At the beginning of the video, which has since been taken down, one of the vehicle's occupants can be heard saying, "Nothing to lose." The vehicle then races by a grey car on the inside shoulder and then quickly approaches a white passenger van which it passes by crossing over onto the road's double yellow centre line and into oncoming traffic. The video, shot by the vehicle's passenger, then pans away from the road to show the speedometer needle reaching 120 km/hr.

Next, the car swerves in and back out of the oncoming lane to pass a silver car. The driver then speeds toward a blue Sedan station wagon and attempts to pass it by straddling the centre line, nearly missing a white pickup truck in the other lane. The two occupants could be heard on the video laughing.

The car speeds on with no other vehicles in sight, and eventually turns right onto Hwy 3. The car, still at excess speed, finally passes a white pickup truck on the shoulder of Hwy 3 as the video comes to an end.

Keaton was identified as a suspect soon after the matter was reported to Yellowknife RCMP, said Sgt. Brad Kaeding, but he wasn't arrested until May 18 of this year.

"Some people avoid us and sometimes we don't know where are and in this case, I think it was a little bit of both," Kaeding said, explaining why it took the police so long to track Roy down.

Shop and run at Canadian Tire

Police are still looking for a pair of brazen thieves that broke into the Canadian Tire store last year and made off with six hockey bags full of stolen loot and a pickup truck.

The thieves disabled the alarm and video system during the early morning heist. They made off with a large amount of goods including power tools, electronic and sporting equipment as well as other items. They also took a black 2004 Dodge Ram pickup truck from the service bay. The vehicle was believed to be used to transport the stolen goods from the store and was later dumped at the cemetery.

The value of the items is undetermined.

Police said no arrests have been made at this point but the investigation is ongoing.

The great snowmobile escape

Officers were stunned when a man drove off on a city-owned snowmobile in 2010 after tackling and knocking down a bylaw officer who was after him for speeding on Frame lake.

Andrew Lawrence Lafferty was found guilty in November 2010, about seven months after the incident. He was convicted of assaulting a police officer, robbery, theft over $5,000, assault and flight from police. The judge gave him 30 months in jail for the crimes, according to Sgt. Brad Kaeding.

The incident started at about 12:30 p.m. on a Saturday when two bylaw officers on snow machines went to pullover a snowmobiler speeding on Frame Lake. The speed limit on the lake is 30 km/hr.

The officers put on their lights and sirens and chased the snowmobile, which headed into the bush beyond Frame Lake Lake using a series of trails.

The driver was later stopped by a rock, which he crashed into near the junction of Hwys 3 and 4. One of the officers pulled up his snowmobile and got off to arrest the man but Lafferty attacked him, tackling him the ground. Lafferty then hoped back onto his vehicle but when he was unable to start it, he took the bylaw officer's machine instead, leaving him to wait for his partner.

Police located the snowmobile soon after the incident.

At the time, Doug Gillard, manager of municipal enforcement for Yellowknife, said the incident was most unusual.

"I've been here 17 years and this is the first incident like this (I've seen) on a snowmobile," he told Yellowknifer.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.