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Charges recommended by RCMP for alleged extortion by Cranbrook man

RCMP in Cranbrook, the Columbia Valley, and Elk Valley began separate investigations into threats of extortion by a local Snapchat user. A 40-year-old Cranbrook man has since been arrested by authorities.

In December 2020, all three detachments initiated investigations, finding that there were several files linked to the same usernames – “ricksmith5788” and “hanksmith8479”.

“RCMP in the Kootenay region noted the links early on, then combined its information and resources to undertake this complex investigation,” said Cst. Katie Forgeron, Media Relations Officer with the Cranbrook RCMP. “After months of inter-jurisdictional investigation, a Cranbrook man was taken into police custody.”

The 40-year-old was arrested by police on April 30th.

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According to RCMP, the Cranbrook man now faces a number of potential criminal charges pending an assessment by the BC Prosecution Service and further investigation.

The man has since been released from custody on “rigorous conditions” and is scheduled to appear in Cranbrook Provincial Court on July 5, 2021.

“Police have reason to believe that the accused may have contacted other people in a similar manner,” added Cst. Katie Forgeron. “We are asking anyone who may have been in contact with an individual in Snapchat, 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.”

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