A youth was sentenced to time in custody after pleading guilty to stealing cars and setting them ablaze.
The 16-year-old Oxbow youth has been in custody for about three weeks following his arrest for the offences. A week before entering pleas, he was denied bail by Judge Karl Bazin, after a show-cause hearing was held.
The defence and Crown put forth a joint submission to presiding judge Ernie Bobowski, which called for 135 days of custody, 90 of which will be served in secure custody, and 45 in deferred custody or community supervision.
The youth also pleaded guilty to charges of break and enter as well as uttering threats. There were a total of 18 charges, though the Crown stayed some.
The offences were committed over a number of days, with the threats uttered in 2010.
The more recent charges occurred between May 11 and 18. They began with a break and enter at Oxbow Building Supply, where the youth spent some time as an employee. He and two others entered the store and stole a number of tools, each taking several trips to carry items out to their vehicle.
The youth also broke the safe open with an axe, taking the $600 to $800 inside, and then with the same axe, smashed a couple of computers that he believed were connected to a security system.
After some investigation, police were led to the youth’s residence and found some of the missing tools. Other stolen items were located under a tarp at the houses of the co-accused, who are also young offenders.
The car thefts and arson charges stem from the night of May 17 and 18. The youth, along with two others, stole a truck in Oxbow and drove it to Alameda. The vehicle got stuck in a slough, and after one of the co-accused expressed an interest in getting back home to Oxbow, the youth stole another car to drive back.
While reading the circumstances, Crown prosecutor Mitch Crumley said, “(The youth) was the guiding force to the other youth involved.”
Once they arrived back in Oxbow, the youth thought they left an iPod in the first truck, which could possibly identify them, so they stole another vehicle and headed back to relocate the first truck.
On their way back, RCMP officers found them and pursued them in a chase. The youth drove through fences, ditches and into fields, eluding the police officers who were unable to catch up with them.
The youth then broke into the Alameda elementary school and went room to room, stealing some money from teachers’ desks. They broke into a storage shed and took gas, which they used to douse the three stolen vehicles and set fire to them in order to conceal evidence they may have left behind.
The uttering threats charge comes from two incidents in which the youth told his mother he would cut her throat in her sleep, and another he made over Facebook to a girl telling her he would hunt down and kill her if she didn’t do what he wanted.
Crumley mentioned two psychological assessments with the youth were “very telling,” outlining bad school performance, cruelty to animals, drug and alcohol abuse and concerns of psychopathy.
Greg Wilson, the youth’s Legal Aid lawyer, noted that it isn’t typical under the Youth Criminal Justice Act to sentence a youth with no previous criminal history to a period of incarceration but recognized these were extraordinary circumstances. He told the judge he wasn’t going to agree to the incarceration period, until the youth said it would probably be a good idea.
After the youth’s release from custody, he will be under an 18-month probation period.
“We need to support this young man so he doesn’t come back and re-offend,” said Crumley, when suggesting further psychiatric and psychological programming during the probation period.
“I hope what can be provided for you is going to give you some help,” Bobowski told the youth when handing down his sentence in which he approved the joint submission.