1 year after armed robbery of central Alberta hotel, DNA helps Mounties make arrests

Nearly a year after a hotel bar in Leslieville, Alta., was robbed by armed men while customers were inside, the RCMP say DNA evidence has helped them make arrests in the case.

The RCMP said Thursday that 34-year-old Harvey James Lee-Bernick of Red Deer and 22-year-old Austin Kim Derkatz of Rimbey have been charged with robbery with a firearm and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

Police responded to the bar when they received a 911 call in the afternoon about a robbery there on Oct. 14, 2017.

The RCMP said they were told two masked men entered the bar carrying a gun and a knife and robbed the business of “a large amount of money,” making a getaway in a pickup truck.

“Several patrons were in the bar at the time and forced to stay inside during the robbery,” police said.

No one was hurt.

READ MORE: RCMP seek 3 suspects in Leslieville hotel robbery 

In addition to DNA evidence, police said warrants, witness statements and tips from the public helped lead them to the accused.

However, police said they have yet to determine who was driving the getaway vehicle, which officers have since recovered.

They said they believe the driver was not one of the men who walked into the hotel that day. The RCMP said efforts to identify the driver are ongoing.

Lee-Bernick and Derkatz are scheduled to appear in court in Rocky Mountain House on Oct. 24, 2018.

The hamlet of Leslieville is located about 30 kilometres east of Rocky Mountain House.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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