Jail time for breaking into veteran’s home

A man who broke into a Second World War veteran’s home is spending the next year in jail.

A man who broke into a Second World War veteran’s home is spending the next year in jail.

Paul Peter Kooistra, 48, pleaded guilty to two counts of breaking and entering and one count of mischief and was sentenced Monday in Penticton Provincial Court.

Around midnight on Jan. 28, the 95-year-old female resident of a Brandon Avenue townhouse was woken by banging noises at her door. En route to investigate, Kooistra busted in the door which the woman was only a few feet away from. Kooistra fled after seeing the woman inside and was later found in nearby bushes by a police dog unit.

“She says she has never felt so frightened since the time she was in the Royal Navy during four years of service in World War Two,” Judge Gail Sinclair said while handing down a two-year jail sentence.

Federal Crown counsel Ashleigh Baylis called the incident “terrifying and traumatic,” and added it caused continuing fear and anxiety for the elderly victim.

“This would be a terrifying experience, in my submission, for anybody let alone for a 95-year-old woman living alone,” Baylis told the court.

Judge Sinclair called Kooistra the “poster boy” for drug-fuelled property offence.

Kooistra worked at a Summerland fruit packing plant for 25 years, but slowly fell into drug use in his 40s.

“I just want to apologize for what I did and it will never happen again,” Kooistra told the court, appearing via video to the sentencing hearing.

On Feb. 14, Kooistra also attempted to break in to the home of an oilfield worker who was away in Alberta. Video surveillance footage caught Kooistra making multiple attempts at entering, eventually causing $500 worth of damage to the doors of the residence.

In total Kooistra garnered a 2.5-year sentence, which has 13 months remaining after including time served in pre-trial custody.