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2 charged connected to Canmore bike theft and fraud investigation

An RCMP vehicle is pictured in an undated image. (File photo) An RCMP vehicle is pictured in an undated image. (File photo)
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Two men from Calgary are facing charges after eagle-eyes RCMP officers in Canmore recognized them as subjects of a months-long investigation into bike thefts and frauds.

Police were alerted about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday about a man trying to use a fraudulent credit card at a business in the mountain community west of Calgary.

When officers arrived, they recognized two men in the area. Both were arrested and a vehicle was seized.

A search warrant was obtained for the car and officers located:

  • Numerous counterfeit credit cards;
  • Identity documents;
  • Break-in instruments;
  • Instruments to forge licence plates, and;
  • Other property which was obtained by crime.

Melody Velasquez, 37, is facing 21 charges, including:

  • Three counts of use of a forged document;
  • Two counts of possession of stolen property;
  • Fraudulent use of a credit card;
  • Possession of break-in instruments;
  • Four counts of identity theft;
  • Unauthorized possession of a weapon;
  • Four counts of theft under $5,000, and;
  • Mischief under $5,000.

Velasquez was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court on June 29.

Elmer Collo, 43, is charged with eight offences, including:

  • Two counts of use of a forged document;
  • Possession of stolen property;
  • Fraudulent use of a credit card, and;
  • Possession of break-in instrument.

Collo was released from custody and is scheduled to appear in court on June 28.

Canmore RCMP issued a warning to cyclistsearlier this week after several mid to high-end mountain bikes had been reported stolen.

RCMP also provided a number of tips for preventing bicycle thefts, including:

  • Store bicycles indoors if possible;
  • Use heavy duty bike locks that are difficult to cut;
  • Take detailed photos of your bicycles and record the serial/part numbers, as it may assist with the recovery of your property;
  • Monitor online resale websites/forums such as Kijiji, eBay, Facebook Buy and Sell, etc., for your recently stolen bicycle and notify police if observed;
  • If using parkades or entrances to communal residences, please ensure those entering said facilities are allowed to be there as suspects are currently following patrons inside to gain access to underground parkades;
  • If suspicious activity is noted, try to acquire a detailed description of the person(s) (ie: height, weight, gender, race, clothing description) or a vehicle(s) in question (ie: colour, make , model, licence plate, # of occupants), and;
  • Whether a home owner or business property representative, please ensure your surveillance systems are in working order to assist victims and police with potential evidence collection.

Officers will also be increasing patrols and visibility in areas where bike thefts have been reported.

Anyone with information is asked to call Canmore RCMP at 403-678-5519 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

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