Squatter in Sentinel linked to thefts 0
On a cool spring day, a Calgary couple made a shocking discovery in a rural area of Sentinel in Crowsnest Pass.
Coming to their cabin after a lengthy eight-month absence, they found they couldn't unlock the gate. Despite a "private property" sign posted nearby, it appeared someone had replaced the padlock.
Walking to the cabin on foot, the pair saw two vehicles, a camper, quads, a TV antennae, generators, propane tanks, car batteries and other items scattered around the yard. When they'd left the property in September 2009, it was completely empty including furniture.
At the door, an unknown dog and an unknown male greeted them.
On May 16, Crowsnest Pass RCMP were called to the scene and made other uneasy discoveries.
As the police approached the cabin, after cutting through the padlock, they located and arrested one male who was in his vehicle trying to leave the scene.
Police approached the cabin and found a large number of batteries from cars and heavy-duty equipment, generators, propane tanks, and coolers of food in nearby Crowsnest Lake.
Upon entering the cabin, police noticed a strong smell of propane. Two propane tanks were open in the cabin and a small fire had been started in a wood stove. The fire department attended and ensured the scene was safe.
The cabin was fully furnished and the intruder had connected power and water to the dwelling. A variety of sexual paraphernalia was also located.
Police have since discovered that most of the property was stolen and are attempting to find the lawful owners.
Electronic items were seized from the property and are being investigated for illicit information or images.
Randall Peter Hopley, 45, of Sparwood, was arrested and charged with break and enter with the intent to commit mischief, unlawfully in a dwelling house and possession of stolen property.
Hopley appeared in Pincher Creek Court on Tuesday, May 25 and was remanded in custody until June 8.
The investigation into the stolen property is ongoing.
In 2008 Hopley was sentenced to 18-months in jail for a break-in that occurred the previous fall in Sparwood.
He was also charged with one count of unlawful confinement and one count of abduction but these two charges were dropped due to a lack of evidence.
The charges stemmed from an incident where the main witness was a 10-year-old boy who was described as being a high-needs mentally challenged child. The boy told his foster mother Hopley had broken into the home and on two occasions, tried to push the lad out of his bedroom window.
Hopley claimed he tried to abduct the boy from foster care and transfer him to his biological parents for $2,800.
In the wake of the break-in a search warrant of Hopley's residence revealed pictures of the boy, a suitcase of children's clothing, some of the boy's medication and GoodNites (underwear for children with bedwetting problems).
Hopley has had 11 previous break-in convictions as well as having been found guilty of a sexual assault in 1985.