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Repeat offender smashes wall of clothing store

Lac La Biche store owner watches late-night thief try on shoes before stealing them

LAC LA BICHE - A man already charged in connection to multiple break-ins since February at downtown Lac La Biche businesses has been released from custody prior to his next court day in connection to a Monday morning break-in at Lac La Biche's Highpoint Clothing.

A suspect was caught by RCMP just before three on Monday morning running from a two foot-by-four foot hole he'd reportedly smashed into the back wall of the downtown business after allegedly failing to cut through the stores' rear door with an axe and a crowbar.

Watching 

The store's owner was alerted to the break-in after getting a call at home from a mobile app on the store's alarm system. He called police as he watched real-time cellphone footage of the suspect walking through his store, collecting clothing and even taking the time to find a specific brand and size of shoe before leaving through the hole in the wall. The surveillance video shows the suspect leaving the store and going into the wooded area along the railway tracks south of the store. Moments later, video shows the same man coming back to the store. He was arrested moments later by police arriving at the scene.

Lac La Biche RCMP say they did recover approximately $2,000 worth of the stores' merchandise. A tool believed to have been used to break into the building was also recovered a short distance away.

Damage to the rear of the store was extensive. Repairs and fortifications to the wall and door have been made.

Beatah Devine, 30, of Lac La Biche has been charged with break and enter with intent to commit theft, mischief over $5,000, disguised with intent to commit offence, possession of break-in instruments, and failing to comply with an undertaking. 

Released 

Devine was arrested and taken to the Lac La Biche RCMP detachment on Monday. Following a judicial hearing conducted by a justice of the peace, he was released from custody hours later.

Devine makes his first appearance on these charges in Lac La Biche Provincial Court on May 3 — just three weeks after his last court appearance for similar charges stemming from two reported break-ins at another downtown business. His April 12 court date for those offences resulted in his case being held over to a later date.

Although the charges are the latest in a recent series, RCMP say Devine was not wanted on outstanding warrants when he was arrested outside the Highpoint Clothing store.

RCMP are continuing to investigate several break-ins at downtown area businesses in recent weeks.