Money for Chateauguay St. Patrick’s Day parade allegedly stolen, organizers say – Montreal


It hasn’t been easy lately for the Chateauguay and Valley Irish Society.

“It’s been a long two weeks,” says group president Michael McGinn.

Two things happened.

Last Saturday, cash they badly need to help fund their annual St. Patrick’s Day parade was allegedly stolen.

“We lost about $4,500 cash and about $1,000 in cheques,” McGinn tells Global News.

That was right after a fundraising event.  The funds represent about a third of the total cost to run the parade, because not everyone is a volunteer. The bands, for example, have to be paid.

St. Patrick’s Day parade in Châteauguay honours the late ‘Parade Man’ (March 2018)

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This year’s parade, McGinn says, is special. “We tried really hard to raise enough money to have a really nice size parade this year,” he says, “because it’s our 15th year.”

They were hoping to have 150 floats, 30 more than they usually have.  Now they’re not sure.

“If we don’t get our money back, I’m not sure if we’ll have enough money to have a parade this year,” McGinn said.

Town Mayor Pierre-Paul Routhier says to not have the parade would be a blow to the community, because it’s one of the bigger parades in the town and it brings people together.

“There’s people coming from Monteral, from Kahnawake, there’s people coming from all around the place to participate in the parade. Not just to watch — to participate,” he stresses.

The other bit of bad luck for the Irish group struck just before the money went missing.

“Two weeks ago,” McGinn explains, “the building where we house our office was broken into.”

Doors to all the offices in the building were smashed and items stolen.  Luckily McGinn’s group didn’t lose anything too substantial.

Châteauguay gears up for St. Patrick’s Day with selection of queen and her court (2017)

“A can of 7-Up and some ink cartridges for our printer,” he grins, detailing their losses.

Even so, it’s an inconvenience, because the office has been without a proper door.

But since the money went missing two other things have happened.  The organization has been getting donations via an online fundraising effort and one local business has offered to host an event to raise cash.

“The Boulevard restaurant in Chateauguay since it happened has offered to have a spaghetti supper,” explained society member Shirley Deegan.

McGinn says he’s willing to drop the charges if the money is returned, but he’s not optimistic.


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Are you ‘Mr Sexy’? OPP looking for rightful owner of stolen vanity license plate


Are you “MR SEXY?” If so, the Ontario Provincial Police would like to know.

‘Grabher’ licence plate court battle postponed until next year

OPP apprehended a stolen vanity license plate from a 17-year-old Saturday evening that reads “MR SEXY” and are currently searching for the rightful owner.

Sgt. Kerry Schmidt posted the request on Twitter, saying the plates were “unlawfully attached to a Maserati driven by a 17 year old G2 driver going 150 km/hr in Mississauga.”

One reaction on Twitter paid homage to a Seinfeld episode in which the character Cosmo Kramer received the vanity license plate “ASSMAN” that did not belong to him, setting off a quest to find the real “assman.”

This is not the first time vanity license plates have made headlines in Canada.

WATCH: Is this license plate “socially inappropriate”?

Earlier in January, a Manitoba Star Trek fan filed a legal challenge after his license plate that read “ASIMIL8” was revoked.

Manitoba Public Insurance suggested it could be interpreted as an insult to Indigenous people. The owner, Nick Troller, said it was merely a play on a well-known saying by the Star Trek alien race, the Borg.

Over in Nova Scotia, Lorne Grabher has been fighting for his license plate, which read “GRABHER,” to be reinstated after it was revoked in 2016 due to an anonymous complaint. The court battle has been postponed until sometime in 2019.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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‘Crazy to think of not having it with me’: Skeleton sled stolen from Calgary athlete – Calgary


An international skeleton athlete is asking for the public’s help after her sled was stolen Thursday night.

Micaela Widmer had just returned from a race in Switzerland when her customized skeleton sled was stolen from her parents’ truck.

The sled is not only necessary for competition, but it also holds sentimental value for Widmer.

“It’s been with me for a lot of years,” said Widmer. “Essentially, it has taken me around the world.”

As a dual citizen, Widmer has competed under both Canadian and Swiss flags for more than a decade.

She said she’s won medals using the red-and-white sled and feels a strong connection with the one-of-a-kind piece of equipment.

“It’s kind of become a part of my life and as weird as it is to say about a piece of equipment, it’s crazy to think of not having it with me.”

Police investigate theft of nearly $500,000 worth of goods from Quebec sports store

Widmer said whoever took the sled will have no use for it since it is purposely built for her and her sport.

“To anyone who doesn’t do skeleton, it’s a piece of junk,” said Widmer. “There’s just no value unless you’re using it as a skeleton sled.”

Although Widmer is semi-retired from skeleton, she still uses the sled promote the sport at schools.

She said that will be much more difficult if the sled is not returned.

“I can get the kids playing on the sled and show them that their face is only two inches off of the ice,” said Widmer. “It will be hard to do that without the sled.”

Anyone with information about the theft can call Calgary Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Nearly $4K stolen from Cape Breton church days before Christmas


Cape Breton police are investigating the theft of thousands of dollars from a church just days before Christmas.

« Violated is a good way to describe it, » said Father Patrick O’Neil, the parish priest at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Sydney River. « It’s sad that anybody would break into any building, but especially a church. »

O’Neil said he had just finished mass the evening of Sunday, Dec. 16, when he noticed something wasn’t right with the parish office door.

« The casing had been broken and cracked and obviously somebody had forced the door open, » he said. 

The cash was inside an envelope in the parish office. (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

It wasn’t until the next morning that O’Neil and the parish secretary realized an envelope containing close to $4,000 was missing. The money had been raised at several fundraising concerts that were held that weekend.

Security cameras offer clues

O’Neil said security cameras in the church showed a man who O’Neil recognized. 

« This person in question — I know innocent until proven guilty — but if it is this person, he’s known to have done it before and probably will keep doing it unless someone … challenged him on that, » said O’Neil. « Especially the police which could maybe give you a little scare to change your ways, if possible. »

Fr. O’Neil says, ‘ultimately, I would like to see the person stop stealing.’ (Norma Jean MacPhee/CBC)

The video footage from the security cameras has been turned over to Cape Breton Regional Police.

O’Neil said he’s hoping for accountability and justice. 

« I don’t think the person in question is going to have anything left, or much, or we won’t get anything back, » said O’Neil. « I’m always open to the possibility that someone might say, ‘I’ve changed my mind. I want to ask for forgiveness,’ but regardless, we will recoup the loss through insurance if we have to. »

No arrests have been made so far.


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Ford F-series trucks are the most often stolen vehicles in Canada, insurers say


Auto theft is up six per cent across the country, according to a report released Tuesday by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

New Brunswick tops the lists with a 28 per cent increase, followed by Ontario with a 15 per cent increase, Quebec, up seven per cent, and Alberta, up six per cent — the highest per capita increase in Canada.

The IBC, a national association that represents Canada’s private auto insurers, reported the increases in its annual report looking at Canada’s most frequently stolen vehicles.

Ford F-Series pickup trucks and high-end SUVs top the list this year.

« They’re of real value, » said John Tod, national director of the IBC’s Investigative Services.

« They’re very attractive vehicles. I know that those types of vehicles are in high demand elsewhere, basically overseas. »

The IBC report uses data compiled by members across the country from 2016-2017, the most recent information available, but Tod said they’ve also seen the number of auto thefts continue to increase in the first three quarters of 2018.

The Ford F350 pickup truck is Canada’s most frequently stolen vehicle, according to data from the Insurance Bureau of Canada. (Ford)

Last week, CBC News reported on a new style of vehicle theft that involves boosting key fob signals from inside homes to open and steal cars in driveways — a technique one auto security expert said may be playing a role in a recent surge of auto thefts in the Toronto area.

Although Tod said most break-ins still involve having the vehicle’s keys in hand, he said the IBC is looking into these electronic thefts.

« The auto manufacturers are very well aware and very actively doing everything they can to change the technology, increase the security mechanisms in it and hopefully reduce the amount of thefts that are occurring, » he said.

Tod said the IBC holds periodic meetings with auto manufacturers, and he’ll be bringing up these electronic thefts at the next one.

The Toronto Police Service’s 11 Division posted this photo on Nov. 26 to warn people about relay thefts. (Toronto Police Service)

What’s being stolen and why

Ford F350 trucks take the top five spots on the IBC’s national list, and they also dominate in Alberta.

In Ontario, Chevrolet trucks and high-end SUVs make up much of the Top 10, and in Atlantic Canada, Nissan Maxima, Chevy Silverado and Jeep Liberty vehicles take the top three spots.

Tod said the reasons thieves target these vehicles varies, but the IBC is seeing many of them shipped overseas.

« There’s a large amount of vehicles that are coming from registered owners or reported stolen from the GTA, southern Ontario area, » Tod said.

« We’re seeing them leaving primarily right now through to the ports in Montreal and through Halifax … we’re seeing them going over to Africa, over to the Middle East and to some extent down to the Caribbean countries as well. »

The trend corresponds with another finding in the report — an increase in unrecovered stolen vehicles, Tod said.

Of course, many break-ins also occur because thieves want to steal the car’s contents or take personal information to use for things like insurance fraud and identity theft, Tod said.

New Year’s Day is the most common time for vehicles to be stolen across the country, mostly because cars are filled with gifts, the report said.

Top Ten Stolen Vehicles in 2017 – Canada

Make Model Body Style Model Year
Ford F350 SD 4WD Pickup 2007
Ford F350 SD 4WD Pickup 2006
Ford F350 SD 4WD Pickup 2005
Ford F350 SD 4WD Pickup 2004
Ford F350 SD 4WD Pickup 2003
Ford F250 SD 4WD Pickup 2006
Ford F350 SD 4WD Pickup 2001
Ford F250 SD 4WD Pickup 2000
Lexus GX460 4DR AWD SUV 2015
Ford F250 SD 4WD Pickup 2001

Top Ten Stolen Vehicles in 2017 – Ontario

Make Model Body Style Model Year
Chevrolet/GMC Tahoe/Yukon 4DR 4WD SUV 2004
Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 2500 4WD Pickup 2006
Chevrolet/GMC Tahoe/Yukon 4DR 4WD SUV 2003
Ford F350 SD 4WD Pickup 2007
Chevrolet/GMC Suburban/Yukon XL 1500 4DR 4WD SUV 2003
Chevrolet/GMC Suburban/Yukon XL 1500 4DR 4WD SUV 2002
Chevrolet Avalanche 1500 4WD Pickup 2003
Chevrolet/GMC Tahoe/Yukon 4DR 4WD SUV 2005
Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 2500 4WD Pickup 2003
Chevrolet/GMC Tahoe/Yukon 4DR 4WD SUV 2002

How to protect yourself

To minimize the chances of becoming a victim, Tod offered these tips:

  • Don’t leave your vehicle unattended and running.
  • Don’t leave your keys or key fobs unattended.
  • Don’t leave valuables visible on the seats.
  • Park in a well-lit area, ideally in a garage.

« It’s only a matter of minutes, or seconds in fact, for somebody to actually, if they have the right means and if they have, even worse, … access to your key fob or your key … it will be gone, and will be gone in a very, very quick period of time, » said Tod.


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Stolen minivan found with baby ‘safe and sound,’ Toronto police say


A minivan that was stolen with a two-month-old baby inside has been found, with the child “safe and sound,” Toronto police say.

The brown 2005 Toyota Sienna was taken from the area of Islington and Steeles Aves. in North York Sunday night and was last seen heading northbound, police said at the time.

The baby boy will be getting checked by paramedics as the investigation continues, according to police.

Marjan Asadullah is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @marjanasadullah


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Good Samaritan wanted after items stolen from elderly woman in Belleville – Kingston


Belleville police are on the lookout for a woman who allegedly stole items from an elderly woman’s home.

Police say the elderly woman had fallen while walking on the street Wednesday evening, when a passerby, the suspect, assisted her and walked her back to her home.

Man accused of stealing from grandmother faces 25 charges

However, the elderly woman says the suspect started snooping around her home, against her wishes. And once the suspect left, the woman realized she was missing medication, jewelry, a bank card, and cellphone.

Police say they’re in the process of obtaining surveillance footage from stores where the bank card was used later that night.

The suspect is described as between 25 and 30 years of age with a pierced eyebrow.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Is this your puppy? St. Albert RCMP find young dog inside stolen SUV – Edmonton


Is your puppy missing? St. Albert RCMP are looking to reunite a young dog with its family after it was found in a vehicle reported stolen that police say was being used to rob several homes.

Mounties in the community directly north of Edmonton said they received several reports of break-ins at around 8:30 a.m. Thursday, near Grandin Road and Levassour Road.

Police responded to the area on the south side of town and found a stolen Audi SUV, with what was believed to be stolen property inside.

READ MORE: Lost dog sold on Kijiji in Edmonton miraculously ends up back with B.C. owners

Inside the SUV was the grey mottled puppy pictured above. Police confirmed the puppy does not belong to the owners of the stolen Audi.

It’s not known if the puppy belongs to the unknown suspect or if the puppy was stolen from a home.

The puppy was taken to the Morinville Veterinary Clinic, and RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating its rightful owner.

If the dog is yours, or if you know who the owner is, you’re asked to call St. Albert RCMP at 780-458-7700. Police say any medical or adoption records and/or photos of the dog would be beneficial in proving proof of ownership.

READ MORE: 21 handguns reported stolen after break-in at St. Albert store

As for the robbery suspect, a police dog was brought in and tracked them through several backyards in the area, but the trail was eventually lost and the suspect got away.

Anyone with information about the crime is also asked to either call RCMP, or anonymously contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), online.

A tip leading to an arrest may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Stolen pickup truck used in robberies in West Lincoln and Grimsby: police – Hamilton


Niagara Regional Police believe the same suspect is responsible for an assault and attempted robbery at a gas station in West Lincoln, as well as a bank robbery in Grimsby.

Man, 24, injured after shooting in downtown St. Catharines: Niagara police

Around 3 p.m. Monday, police say a man driving a stolen 2008 grey GMC Canyon pickup truck went to the Esso gas station on Regional Road 20.

After getting some gas, police say the suspect entered the store, produced a knife and allegedly assaulted the employee while demanding money.

However, the gas station attendant was able to fight off the suspect who took off in the stolen truck.

Just over an hour later, police say the same man went to the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce on Main Street in Grimsby, where he approached a teller and allegedly demanded money.

He reportedly got some cash and again, took off in the pickup truck.

Police search for suspect in alleged sexual assault in Niagara Falls

The suspect is described as white, 30-35 years old, five-foot-nine, 160 pounds with short dark receding hair. He was wearing dark pants with a black hooded sweatshirt with “RAPTORS” printed on the front in red lettering.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Niagara Regional Police Service Det.-Const. Jay Vormittag #9224 (8 District Criminal Investigation Branch) at 905-688-4111.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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