Multijurisdictional police investigation into alleged online extortion

Cranbrook, Columbia Valley, Elk Valley

2021-05-04 06:00 PDT

File # 2020-10434

A multijurisdictional police investigation has led police to recommend charges against a Cranbrook resident.

In December of 2020, Cranbrook RCMP, Columbia Valley RCMP and the Elk Valley RCMP detachments began separate investigations into allegations of extortion and threats involving a SnapChat user. During the preliminary stages of each of those criminal investigations it was noted that there were several files linked to the same username, ricksmith5788 and hanksmith8479.

RCMP in the Kootenay region noted the links early on, then combined its information and resources to undertake this complex investigation, states Cst. Katie Forgeron, Media Relations Officer for the Cranbrook RCMP. After months of interjurisdictional investigation, a Cranbrook man was taken into police custody.

A 40 year old male was arrested on April 30th. The Cranbrook resident faces a number of potential criminal charges pending further investigation and a charge assessment by the BC Prosecution Service. Police have released the accused on rigorous conditions. His next court appearance is scheduled for July 5, 2021 in Cranbrook Provincial Law Courts.

Police have reason to believe that the accused may have contacted other people in a similar manner, adds Cst. Katie Forgeron. We are asking anyone who may have been in contact with an individual in Snap Chat, or other social media platforms, with either username ricksmith5788 or hanksmith8479, or if you feel that you may have been subject to harassment or received online threats to contact your local police.

Released by

Cst. K.P. Forgeron

Media Relations Officer
Cranbrook RCMP
31 11th Ave S, Cranbrook, BC V1C 2N9
Office: 250-489-3471
Fax: 250-417-4211


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