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Prolific bank robber sentenced to eight years

A prolific Okanagan bank robber was given a hefty prison sentence Tuesday by a Supreme Court justice trying to deter anyone thinking of picking up the crook’s craft.

Trevor Allan Nilsson, 29, will spend eight years, less one year and three months for time already served in prison for robbing a Kelowna CIBC branch and a Penticton Toronto Dominion in February 2010.

Each robbery earned Nilsson a separate seven-year sentence, but the judge ruled he could serve them concurrently, reducing the total significantly.

Nilsson will also have to submit his DNA to the national registry, and will never be allowed to possess a gun.

“I’m not satisfied that a sentence on the lower end will protect the public since it’s clear he’ll likely reoffend,” said Supreme Court Justice Paul Walker, noting that the heavier sentence was aimed at sending out a “strong message of denunciation.”

Nilsson, said Walker, has either been committing a crime or in prison all his adult life.

He’s already benefitted from the court’s generosity, exhibited when he received lighter sentences for several previous robbery convictions, said Walker, adding he’s shown little sign of trying to find a better path forward through therapy or higher education.

Worse yet, his decision to rob the two banks last year didn’t come from an act of desperation, fuelled by drugs or booze. He just seems to view robbery as a means to “fund his lifestyle.”

“Nilsson’s trade is to perform robberies,” said Walker.

Both the CIBC and TD heists were carefully plotted and executed. Nilsson hid his face, told the two women tellers in a measured tone that they were being robbed as he took cash from them. His face was concealed and the behaviour was menacing enough to leave both women still feeling the symptoms of “anxiety and stress.”

Nearly two years to the date since the heists,  Nilsson seemed just as cool and collected when his sentence was rendered and declined an offer to speak before it was delivered.

As Walker concluded his reasons for sentence, Nilsson sat in the prisoner’s box and rubbed his chin in a slow and measured manner. He remained in that state as Walker listed emotional problems that contributed to the criminal behaviour.

Nilsson, said Walker, has abandonment issues stemming from the fact his mother gave him up to foster care when he was a child, choosing to keep his two other siblings.

Leading into his sentencing, Nilsson said he intended to work to improve his family relationships and the issues that stem from fractures created in his youth.

In federal prison, he’ll have ample access to rehabilitation programs, Walker noted, however he’ll have to take the initiative to access them himself — something Nilsson has yet to do.

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