Penticton courthouse

Penticton courthouse

No break for Penticton thief

A Penticton man is now serving jail time after a local judge threw the book at him for breaking and entering.

A Penticton man is now serving jail time after a local judge threw the book at him for breaking into a local charity and the Barley Mill Brew Pub — acknowledging the property crime occurring in Penticton.

On Thursday, Sheldon Edward Evans, 30, pleaded guilty to two counts of breaking and entering.

Crown counsel Vernon Frolick’s sentencing position was six months jail and defence counsel Robert Maxwell asked for a conditional sentence for the first-time offender. However, Judge Greg Koturbash, after standing court down briefly, returned to hand down a nine-month jail sentence, citing the climate of property crime in Penticton.

“From 2010 to 2015 there has been a 150 per cent increase in break and enters to businesses,” Koturbash said. “In January and February of this year alone there have been 35 break and enters to businesses.”

Rehabilitation and treatment for Evans’ admitted methamphetamine addiction was acknowledged by Crown, defence and Koturbash as the best way to protect the community, though he said drug addiction cannot be used “as a shield” after committing property crime to fuel the habit.

The list of aggravating factors was lengthy. Breaking into a charitable organization and committing a break and enter while on bail for another break and enter. Koturbash also talked of the early guilty pleas, as well as this being Evans’ first offence, though he noted with video surveillance and the detective work of police, Evans was essentially “caught red-handed.”

Koturbash determined that the conditional sentence Maxwell was asking for was not available according the Criminal Code, as Crown was proceeding by indictment.

On April 7, Evans broke into the Penticton and District Society for Community Living, a charitable society which provides support and services to people with intellectual disabilities as well as seniors and low-income families.

At 5:32 a.m. RCMP attended the PDSCL offices on 180 Industrial Ave. W. after an alarm had gone off. Evans was located in an alley behind the business attempting to bike away. His backpack contained tools which he said were to fix his bike. Bolt cutters, screwdrivers and ratchets were discovered in the backpack.

Evans advised police of his methamphetamine habit and that he dumpster dives to sustain himself. Plush Beanie Babies toys were determined to have been taken by property representatives. Video surveillance also identified Evans, who had appeared to gain access from the roof of the building with similar footprint treads matching those of Evans footwear.

Evans was released on a promise to appear in court and on April 22 police responded to an alarm at the Barley Mill Brew Pub around 4 a.m. A police officer, who was on scene two minutes after the alarm was tripped, was searching the premises when he saw movement at the rear of the building, locating Evans with a black bag. After attempting to flee, he was caught by other officers.

He had entered through the roof of the building once again via the fire escape. The bag was recovered and was full with multiple packs of cigarettes taken from the cigarette machine inside the Barley Mill.  Two boxes of various liquor bottles were located near the stairs to the fire escape and it appeared that Evans had been collecting nearly 36 bottles of liquor to take out via the fire escape.

On top of his jail sentence, Evans was give 18 months probation, given a $100 victim surcharge to pay and was banned from attending the Barley Mill and PDSCL offices.