Jail for man who went on stealing spree

A man linked to four stolen vehicles in the span of one week this summer will now be spinning his wheels behind bars.

A man linked to four stolen vehicles in the span of one week this summer will now be spinning his wheels behind bars.

Jeremiah Nathan Armstrong, 34, was sentenced this week in provincial court in Penticton to one year in jail after pleading guilty to a total of nine offences, including two counts of flight from police and three counts of possession of stolen property.

Given enhanced credit for time served, Armstrong now has nine months remaining on his sentence, which will be followed by 15 months’ probation and a two-year driving prohibition.

Court heard Armstrong first came to the attention of police investigating a theft from a liquor store in Osoyoos on July 2.

When asked for identification, Armstrong retrieved it from a truck stolen days earlier from Kelowna and for which he had the key fob in his pocket. Also inside the vehicle was a drill stolen from an Osoyoos hardware store.

Then on July 6, just after midnight, an RCMP officer on patrol on the Penticton Indian Reserve spotted Armstrong driving a stolen Honda Accord and gave chase.

Armstrong took off “at a high rate of speed with no consideration of others,” said Crown counsellor Mallory Treddenick as she read out the circumstances of the offences. The car later plunged off a five-metre embankment and Armstrong fled on foot.

Just two days later, plainclothes Mounties on the reserve watched as Armstrong drove past them in a stolen Dodge Dakota pickup.

After a short chase, Armstrong stopped the truck to let out a passenger, who later told police where to find another stolen vehicle they dumped earlier in the day, then spent the next four hours evading police on bush trails, where he eventually got stuck and was apprehended.

Treddenick said Armstrong was high on methamphetamine at the time of his arrest.

“Extremely high,” Armstrong confirmed without prompting.

Defence counsel Bob Maxwell said his client “very stupidly went to meth as some sort of relief” following a three-month hospital stay in 2012.

“That’s what all this stuff was about,” said Maxwell.

Prior to learning his sentence, Armstrong, who appeared via videoconference from the North Fraser Pretrial Centre, told the court, “I know I did wrong.”

He also apologized to “anybody out there I hurt.”