Lethbridge police crack down on violence at city skate parks

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The Lethbridge Police Service says it has made several arrests in connection with a series of incidents that occurred at two skate parks last month.

Officials were first alerted to a robbery that was reported at SLP Skate Park on Mayor Magrath Drive South on Aug. 12.

The second incident, which took place on Aug. 25 at Legacy Regional Park's skate park, involved a situation where several armed individuals were seen in the parking lot.

Officials say an investigation has since determined that both incidents were connected.

"Police responded to the incident at Legacy park and learned a 16-year-old male had been forced into a vehicle by several other males, who demanded information about another youth they were looking for. A pellet gun that closely resembled an actual pistol was used to intimidate the victim," LPS said in a release.

Further investigation led to the arrests of four males – two 16-year-olds, a 17-year-old and 18-year-old Royer Sopal Caldera.

The names of the minors are not being released, but police say all the suspects have been charged with kidnapping with a firearm, extortion using a firearm and assault with a weapon. One of the 16-year-olds was also charged with wearing a disguise with the intent of committing an offence.

As well, during the investigation into the incident at Legacy park, Lethbridge police found Caldera and one of the 16-year-olds were involved in the earlier incident at SLP Skate Park.

"Police were also able to identify and arrest another 17-year-old as well as 18-year-old Denis Mehmeti with all four charged with robbery and intimidation," LPS said.

All of the individuals were released from custody, but must abide by certain conditions until their next court date.

Officials also ask residents to report any incidents of violence at any of the city's parks to police.

"All residents, young and old, deserve to use and enjoy the city's facilities without fear of intimidation or threats or other actions with make them feel unsafe."