Seven arrested in Christmas Eve crime spree

(QMI Agency files)

(QMI Agency files)

Kevin Maimann, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:37 PM ET

EDMONTON -- Seven people are in custody after RCMP foiled an alcohol-fuelled Christmas rampage in northern Alberta.

Mounties laid 89 charges for violent and property-related offences after chasing suspects through a four-hour crime spree spanning 300 kilometres in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve.

One suspect is still on the loose after the string of crimes that included a home invasion, a car-jacking, a liquor store robbery and a car chase.

"It's not often you see a sort of rampage like that," said Vermillion RCMP Sgt. Mike McGinley. "Often we have a series of crimes ... but nothing quite like this, especially around this area."

It began when RCMP were called to a home invasion near Vermillion, about 200 km east of Edmonton, where the homeowner had confronted two male attackers in a violent altercation. Officers arrested a youth on scene and, with help from a police dog, located the other suspect -- an adult -- nearby.

Meanwhile, other RCMP officers working on the same case found a stolen vehicle and arrested a woman, a male youth and two female youths.

Mounties allege the group was responsible for several crimes starting with theft from a liquor store in the Cold Lake area, about 100 or so km away. After one failed car-jacking, the suspects succeeded in snatching a car by forcing several elderly women from a vehicle.

McGinley said the criminals were drinking throughout the crime spree.

"I would call it an alcohol-fuelled rampage. I think there was some drinking going on right through the whole thing," he said.

Cold Lake, Bonnyville, Elk Point, Kitscoty and Vermillion RCMP detachments worked together to track down the young criminals, thanks to detailed descriptions victims provided of the attackers.

The homeowner involved in the violent altercation was taken to hospital with minor injuries and released.

The victims of the car-jacking were shaken but unharmed.