‘Drug-induced fog’ leads to scooter stealing spree in Penticton

An Alberta man is spending the next six months in prison for a crime spree involving multiple electric scooter thefts.

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An Alberta man is spending the next six months in prison after what his lawyer called a “weird fixation” resulting in the theft of three electric scooters over a five-day period.

Michael Vaughan, 40, pleaded guilty to four counts of theft under $5,000, one count of mischief under $5,000 and one count of possession of stolen property under $5,000.

Vaughan’s crime spree started June 18 around 4 p.m. when police were called after the theft of an electric scooter from a Salvation Army worker at their Ellis Street location. A witness told police they observed Vaughan taking the scooter, which the owner valued at roughly $2,000, after breaking off the lock and pushing it away.

Approximately 40 minutes later, Vaughan was found detained by a bike owner in an alleyway in the 500 block of Main Street after attempting to steal the bike off the back of a man’s vehicle downtown in broad daylight.

Read more: Revolving door to jail for Penticton man

Police arrested Vaughan and he was later released on a promise to appear in court.

Two days later, June 20, the owner of a 2004 Kawasaki motorcycle called police after discovering his bike was missing. Police received a report later in the day indicating the bike had been seen in the Walmart parking lot, where witnesses saw Vaughan attempting to cut the lock off of a scooter. Vaughan was detained, with police finding a meth pipe on him, and released on a recognizance by the court.

One hour and 15 minutes after his release the next day, June 21, around 3:45 p.m. a witness reported seeing Vaughan steal a motor scooter and followed Vaughan after watching him push a black scooter near the parking lot of the Penticton Community Centre up to a blue motor scooter, which Vaughan then started pushing away.

The witness followed Vaughan through some back streets to Westminster Avenue and abandoned the scooter. Crown counsel Vernon Frolick said Vaughan picked up “something like a rock” and told the witness he would use it as a weapon if he was approached. Vaughan was eventually arrested and has been in custody since.

Vaughan also pleaded guilty to mischief charges stemming from events on Feb. 23. A witness saw Vaughan with a backpack and heard a hammering noise at 5:30 a.m. near the Murray GM dealership and called police. Police arrived and located Vaughan nearby in possession of a lock box which appeared to have suffered damage from a hammer. The vehicles in the Murray GM lot had lock boxes on the windows matching the one Vaughan had in his possession and the window of one of the vehicles had been smashed in. The damage totalled $1,520.99, Crown said.

Frolick added that Vaughan has a five-page criminal record out of Alberta, which Judge Gail Sinclair said “ran the gamut” of criminal offences and defence counsel for Vaughan, Bob Maxwell, cited a five-year hiatus in that record.

“He went clean for five years, somehow got back into it here. What has been described here is like a drug-induced fog that he was operating in. With some type of weird fixation for bicycle, scooters and motorcycles,” Maxwell said.

A brick layer, auto mechanic and stonemason out of Alberta, Maxwell said Vaughan has been facing addiction issues for nearly his entirely life. Vaughan told the court he has gained nearly a 100 pounds since getting clean in custody over the past six months.

“He has been an addict, on cocaine since the age of, listen to this, seven,” Maxwell said.

Vaughan has been in custody for 170 days, with pre-trial custody credit, that time equates to roughly nine months in custody.

Sinclair sentenced Vaughan to 15 months imprisonment, with six months remaining to be served on his sentence.

Vaughan was ordered to pay restitution for the stolen scooter in the amount of $2,000 and $2,521 to Murray GM for the broken vehicle window.

Vaughan is scheduled for an upcoming trial on Dec. 9 for unrelated charges of assault with a weapon and uttering threats which allegedly occurred May 2.

 

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