On Saturday, March 19, 2016, police executed a search warrant at a residence in the 200 block of Queen Charlotte Way S.E. In addition to a search of the residence, police also discovered a hidden underground tunnel extending approximately 30 feet into the backyard containing stolen property. A search of the residence and tunnel resulted in the recovery of an estimated $65,000 to $100,000 worth of stolen property. The items recovered included bicycles, tools, electronics, sporting goods, along with five firearms and ammunition.
Police have charged Douglas Scott PENTLAND, 50, of Calgary, with 15 counts of break and enter and one count of possession of break and enter tools. As a result of this investigation, additional break and enter offences are currently under investigation in Calgary and communities south of the city, which may include the involvement of other suspects.
It is believed that the offender targeted residences by forcing entry to basement windows and by prying open overhead garage doors to release the emergency manual release mechanism. Citizens are encouraged to take steps to secure their residences, which can include:
- Securing basement windows with bars and making sure they are locked, yet accessible for escape in the event of a fire;
- Installing a home security system with sensors for the overhead garage and man doors;
- Keeping the door between the house and garage locked, even when home;
- Securing the manual release for the overhead garage door.
Citizens are also encouraged to report any suspicious vehicles or persons not normally in the neighbourhood and communicate with neighbours. This investigation was aided in large part by attentive neighbours and community members.
Photos of the backyard tunnel are available on The City of Calgary Newsroom.
Police have catalogued the recovered property and are looking to return items to their owners. A photo gallery has been set up on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/gp/calgarypolice/8d260K. A dedicated email address, email@example.com, will remain open until May 14, 2016, for property owners to contact.