North Bay Police Chief Scott Tod (Rocco Frangione, MyNorthBayNow. com staff)
Three people who broke into the home of Callander Mayor Hec Lavigne while his family was grieving his death in Sudbury have been arrested and charged by North Bay police.
Lavigne died Sunday night and the break-in at the Lavigne home took place during the early morning hours on Monday.
North Bay Police Chief Scott Tod called a rare news conference Tuesday afternoon to announce details of the break-in and the arrests.
Tod has known the Lavigne family for years and lived not far from the late Mayor.
Reading from a prepared statement, Tod said as police chief he was angry that criminals “took advantage of an opportunity” by breaking into a home knowing full well that Lavigne had passed away and the family was in Sudbury.
“It’s a despicable act,” said Tod.
Tod expressed his and the North Bay Police Services condolences to the Lavigne family saying the service cares for the family.
Lavigne was a member of the North Bay Police Services Board during the 2000s.
Afterward in taking questions from the media, Tod again expressed his anger that “criminals took advantage of an opportunity when a family is going through a severe time of sorrow and grief”.
“I’m incensed with what’s happened,” he said.
Not only were items taken during the break-in, but Tod says contents in the home were also “destroyed”.
Tod said he didn’t have a damage estimate or the full value of the stolen items.
Credit cards were among the stolen goods.
“The family is grieving right now and that was made more severe with the break-in,” he said.
Tod believes the accused learned the home would be empty through word of mouth given the break-in took place only hours after the family left for Sudbury.
When police learned of the break-in several departments looked into the matter and by early Monday evening, three arrests were made.
In addition, police got a search warrant for the home of one of the accused and found the items taken from the Lavigne home.
Inside that home were also 5,236 Methamphetamine pills worth $26,180, as well as 251.2 grams of Crystal meth with a street value of $20,120 and 168.5 grams of cocaine valued at $21,062.
The home also contained one prohibited firearm, three non-registered firearms and one sharp-edged weapon that is prohibited.
Police also confiscated $3,400 in Canadian money and a Toyota Corolla they believe was used in the distribution of illicit drugs.
The individual where the drugs, money and weapons were found is identified as 30-year-old Michael Gervais of North Bay and he’s charged with seven counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking and two counts of possession of property obtained by crime.
Gervais is also facing single counts of unauthorized possession of a prohibited weapon, unsafe storage of a firearm, possession of a forged document, possession of a prohibited device, mischief under $5,000, break and enter and possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime.
A North Bay woman, 28-year-old Kelsey Turcotte, is charged with trafficking in a controlled substance and break and enter while 24-year-old Branden Leroy-Penner of Powassan is also charged with break and enter.
Police say their investigation continues and add they expect to lay more charges.