Special to TTAG by Jim Sutherland: I live in Alberta Canada. The region is known as Texas North to the rest of Canada because Alberta likes to run its own show. Rural Albertans also live by a harsher code of justice when it comes to property theft. In short, justice might be dispensed on the spot by property owners. Two examples of frontier justice in Alberta involved quad thefts and a little ensuing gunplay.
Rural Albertans are friendly by nature, but you better have an invitation to come on their property. And you better have a bullet-proof hide if you steal their property. Two incidents in central Alberta occurred in the past year that involved quad thefts and irate armed property owners.
Quad theft in Alberta is essentially a modern day horse theft, and the crime is very common in the province. Some owners have been victimized more than once by thieves, so they are a mite ornery about the property theft crime. Two of them took matters into their own hands and shot the would-be thieves.
The latest incident (May 25) involved a trespassing episode on a First Nation (Native Canadian) resident’s property. The shooter felt that his quads were likely to be stolen by the trespassers, given the late hour, and the fact that one or more of these ‘visitors’ was already riding a stolen quad. A + B still equals C, so the 19 year old property dweller unloaded a few rounds from a 22 caliber semiautomatic weapon, and shot the guy in the leg. He tumbled off the stolen quad and subsequently broke his leg. Needless to say, the guy was done running after this incident.
The property dweller was charged with several weapon offenses including Canadian versions of felony firearm offenses as well as felony aggravated assault offenses. He was jailed until he posted bail in these matters. A property theft investigation that involves multiple quad thefts is underway and will undoubtedly involve the guy who was shot.
The earlier incident happened about a year ago and involved a property owner who caught three quad thieves in the act. He chased down one of the bad guys and put a round into the thief and then applied a liberal amount of force to the guy on the ground. The property owner was also arrested and charged with numerous weapon offenses. The property owner has become a Charles Bronson hero to many Albertans willing to back the guy financially with his legal costs. His case will go to court in mid-June.
The Canadian legal system will likely not look favorably upon either guy in these matters. They have already won in the court of public opinion from rural Albertans, but they face a real possibility of jail time for their Charles Bronson impersonations. The outcome of both cases will stir controversy in Alberta, but the usual lines will form along rural and urban Albertans on this issue. Stay tuned for more as these situations unfold.