The calm of an otherwise peaceful acreage community east of Calgary has been upset by an apparent forensic police investigation.
Dozens of members of the Calgary Police Service and Alberta RCMP were on the scene of a property east of Chestermere, Alta., searching the grounds behind a shop space on Friday.
Police tell Global News they are executing a search warrant on Vale View Road in Rocky View County as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.
“Due to the nature, no other details will be released at this time,” police said
Helicopters, ‘big trucks’ arrived suddenly
A neighbour said the police presence was preceded by the HAWCS police helicopter on Thursday morning.
“It circled for probably 30, 35 minutes that I saw,” Stacey Bronson, whose windows face the property, said. “And then we saw all of the big trucks coming in.
“I don’t know what the big blue one’s called, but it’s like a SWAT truck. And then there was two other trucks – big trucks – there as well, plus numerous police cars.
“And then last night that blue tent was set up in the back there. They’ve obviously got light pillars set up and porta potties, and the (mobile) command center showed up later yesterday afternoon.”
Police vehicles were parked along a length of gravel road outside the property on Friday.
Paul and Muriel Lock own the property now being scoured by police. They said they got no notice of the police operation. Their security cameras caught the first hint of the police approaching the shop space that is behind his home.
“The ring camera picks up the motion and the motion it picked up (was) someone knocking the camera to face the ground,” Paul said.
He called Strathmore RCMP to see if it was their officers, and they told him a warrant was issued out of Calgary. CPS officers told him not to leave his home.
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Shop renter worked late
The Locks had rented out the shop space for the past year and a half to a man Paul described as “a bit of a hoarder.”
“But other than that, nothing seriously alarming,” he said.
Paul said the renter worked late into the evening in the shop, and from what he could tell, would sometimes stay overnight.
“He would be driving in the middle of the night with his big truck. Or he would make noises,” Muriel said.
Bronson told Global News she had seen police attend the property within the past year.
“The guy that rents that shop is obviously in some sort of serious trouble, I would think,” Paul said.
On Friday, investigators were seen in respirators using rakes among debris on the ground behind the shop, between parked cube vans and RVs.
“It’s very unnerving for sure. It’s a little surreal, to be honest,” Bronson said
“It’s very shocking. It’s like a movie,” Paul said.
“Feels like it’s not real,” Muriel said.
The Locks could be out of their home until April 12 as police continue their investigation, left to stay in area hotels.
“I feel betrayed for sure,” Muriel said. “Highly betrayed and hurt for whatever happened… and not knowing what’s going on.”
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