Thieves’ Day at Provincial Court

By David F. Rooney

The regular monthly sitting of Provincial Court was a little different on Wednesday. Most months there seems to be a preponderance of drunk-driving offences but this week three of the four cases that landed on Judge Mark Takahashi’s plate involved thefts.

The sole exception involved Adam Burke of Revelstoke who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol on Aug. 1 this year. Crown Attorney Greg Koturbash told the judge that when Burke was stopped he told the officer his name was Adam Abbott. However, he was known to another officer at the scene who quickly identified him as Adam Burke. Judge Takahashi fined Burke $1,250 and suspended his licence for 12 months.

And then it was on to the petty thieves.

Michelle Bedard pleaded guilty to stealing an iPod and its docking station from her foster sister, Chantal Lalonde. When she first appeared before the judge, Bedard almost sneered as she said, “To me, it’s not really anything. It’s petty.” She also said she wasn’t interested in getting legal advice. Judge Takahashi quickly set her straight, telling her she could get not just a criminal record but six months in jail and a fine.”

“Over an iPod?” Bedard asked before she left court to consult with a duty counsel.

When she returned she pled guilty and listened as Koturbash told the judge that when Bedard was apprehended on July 1 not long after absconding with Lalonde’s iPod she claimed that Lalonde had freely given them to her to hock for drugs.

The 35-year-old Bedard later told police she had no recollection of the incident as she was intoxicated.

Judge Takahashi ordered her to pay a $100 fine.

Lee Kincaid received a somewhat heftier punishment: a 60-day conditional sentence.

Kincaid pled guilty to breaking into a cash box at the Hillcrest Hotel and stealing $391.04. He had gone to the hotel on the night of June 28 to cadge money form his mother who worked there. When she refused to let him in he found an open window and entered. She called police to report that he was harassing her. When they arrived on the scene Kincaid was gone and the cashbox was empty. It was dusted for fingerprints and his were found on the box.

When police caught up with them he “told the arresting officers he had spent the money and had about 10 bucks left,” Koturbash told the judge. “He had spent it on crack.”

Kincaid, who has a prior criminal record and serious substance abuse problems, repaid the hotel before coming to trial. Judge Takahashi sentenced him to a 60-day conditional sentence plus a year’s probation. He was also ordered to pay restitution (which he did before the trial) and was ordered to yield a DNA sample to the National DNA Data Bank. Kincaid must also attend a counselling program and cannot go anywhere near the Hillcrest Hotel.

The third theft case also involved a hotel — the Sandman Inn. The defendent in this case was a former night security guard, Jeremy Schultz, whom a night manager suspected last Feb. 7 of stealing a new portable phone. Koturbash said the theft came on the heels of a series of thefts of electronic and avalanche gear from guests at the hotel. He said Night Manager Susan Wilson suspected Schultz of stealing the phone and she actually found a way to prove it. Unbeknownst to Schultz there was an extra handset to the phone.

Koturbash said Wilson drove past Schultz’s home with the handset in her car and when she arrived there she turned it on to if it would be activated by its proximity to the base receiver. The phone did in fact become active and she reported this fact to the local RCMP detachment. The Mounties obtained a search warrant and raided Schultz’s house, where they found the stolen phone, but none of the other missing electronics.

Schultz maintained at the time and continues to maintain that he has nothing to do with those thefts and claimed that he thought the phone he stole was junk ready to be tossed out.

Judge Takahashi ordered Schultz to pay a $500 fine, plus a $75 victim’s surcharge fine. He also placed him on probation for six months and ordered him to perform 40 hours of community work.