Coin thefts nets one-year jail sentence

Christopher Steven Cheslock receives one year in jail related to string of break-ins in Penticton and Summerland.

One of two men arrested in connection with a string of break-ins that targeted coin-operated laundry machines in apartment buildings in Penticton and Summerland has been sentenced to a year in jail.

“It was just a mix-up. I owed some people some money and I paid them back,” Christopher Steven Cheslock, 25, told a judge in provincial court in Penticton last week after pleading guilty to six counts of break-and-enter and a single count of possession of stolen property.

“I’m extremely remorseful for what I did,” he said.

Judge Greg Koturbash, who accepted a sentencing recommendation from the Crown that offered Cheslock a “deep discount” for his early guilty pleas, said the circumstances of the offences demonstrated Cheslock is “not afraid of hard work.”

“It boggles my mind why you don’t go out and get some employment and do things the honest way,” Koturbash told him.

Court heard police used surveillance videos and fingerprint evidence to link Cheslock to thefts of coins from laundry machines in apartment buildings on Forestbrook Drive and Penticton Avenue on Nov. 30, 2014. He also made an unsuccessful attempt to get into a third building that day and smashed a car window in an underground parking garage at a fourth site.

Just six days later, the pair emptied coins from laundry machines at a pair of housing complexes, including the Legion Village, in Summerland.

The judge cited as a mitigating factor that Cheslock didn’t break into any private homes to get at the laundry machines, but said it “doesn’t excuse what he’s done.”

After he completes his jail term, Cheslock, who was given enhanced credit for three months’ time served since his arrest and received concurrent 12-month sentences for each offence, will be on probation for a year and banned from returning to any of the six buildings he hit.

Another man alleged to have been with Cheslock was charged with just a single count of break-and-enter and is expected to enter a guilty plea at his next court appearance Feb. 23.