Armed robbery in Rupert
A woman was robbed at gunpoint outside of a home on Chemin des Erables in Rupert on June 11, less than 24 hours after two daylight-burglaries took place in Wakefield, where the suspects made off with cash, valuables, and a necklace filled with a father’s ashes.
According to MRC des Collines Police, just before 2:40 a.m. on June 11, the suspects – a 43-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman from Gatineau – used a pellet gun to rob a woman who, at the time, was sleeping in a tent outside of the address on Chemin des Erables. The victim was not harmed in the robbery and managed to flee to a neighbouring residence to call 911 and give a detailed description of the suspects to police, though the attackers were not known to the victim.
The suspects were located a few minutes later at the Rupert Community Centre, and were promptly arrested.
In the course of the initial police investigation, police said it became apparent that the suspects had been involved in at least two previous robberies, which had occurred on June 10 in Wakefield.
According to police, at the time of the arrest, the female suspect was in possession of evidence linking the pair to burglaries at two different locations on Chemin Riverside in Wakefield, including paychecks from Great Canadian Bungee, which had been stolen from Andrea Unsworth’s home the previous day.
Aside from the paychecks, Unsworth said she also works a number of odd jobs around the village, meaning she is one of the few people who still regularly leaves her home to go to work on a regular basis. However, when she returned home from work on June 10, she immediately suspected something was wrong upon finding her front door unlocked.
When Unsworth entered her home she said she noticed a medicine basket usually filled with sage and tobacco, which she was sure had been put away, sitting out and looking rather empty. It wasn’t until Unsworth made it to her kitchen and found kitchenware scattered across the floor and noticed that her record player and entertainment unit was missing that she realized what had happened. Unsworth also said she noticed that her blue and white Escapade kayak was missing from her backyard.
“I ran through the house, and the bathroom was in disarray and my jewellery was gone, including a necklace containing my father’s ashes,” Unsworth recalled.
Unsworth’s father, Jim, passed away in 2015, and she remembers him as an “alpha bear” type, cuddly at times and scary as hell when he needed to be; she is sure he had a hand in how everything turned out.
“My dad is gonna haunt their ass," she half-joked.
According to Unsworth, the burglars entered through her kitchen window, which bears evidence that the pair may have attempted to remove it entirely with a drill before giving up and simply wriggling through the unlocked window.
Unsworth said the worst part of the whole experience wasn’t the invasion of privacy or not feeling safe in her home, but the paranoia that she had been targeted by someone local or even someone she knew. Unsworth was also concerned that the burglary was connected to two previous thefts she had experienced, including the theft of her blue and white Escapade kayak the previous year — the twin to the one stolen on June 10. The year before that, in 2019, she had plants and a “fairyhouse” stolen from her garden.
Fortunately her fears were alleviated less than 24 hours later when she was notified by police that two suspects had been apprehended.
Oddly enough, Unsworth said, she had had a suspicion from the start that at least one of the suspects was probably a woman.
“I was convinced that one of them was a girl, because of what they took, including my toiletries and make-up,” Unsworth explained, adding that most of the stuff was easily sellable but not those things. “It’s kind of gross.”
According to Sgt. Martin Fournel, spokesperson for the MRC des Collines Police, the suspects told detectives that they had been looking for “abandoned houses” and “antiques,” and that investigators believed the burglaries and the robbery had been random. Police are also awaiting a warrant to search the suspects’ vehicle to gather evidence and ultimately try to retrieve some of the lost items.
“We believe there will be further evidence linking the suspects to earlier crimes,” Fournel told The Low Down. He added that investigators suspect there is potentially evidence linking the pair to crimes other than the three already known to police.
MRC Police are encouraging residents who may have information about other potential burglaries to contact Sgt. Patrick Tremblay at 819-459-2422 ext 3286.