Retaliating to bullying with a pipe bomb and bear spray has put an Oliver man behind bars for 90 days.
Using black powder from a device used to keep birds away from vineyards, commonly known as “bird bangers,” Stephan Wesley Daoust crafted an explosive device that was set off at the residence of a man he had a longstanding feud with.
The 19-year-old was sentenced to 60 days in jail for an explosive device to damage property and an additional 30 days for assault with a weapon by dispatching bearspray into the home of the man he held a grudge against. Daoust, whose friends told police he goes by the nickname Pyro101, plead guilty at the earliest possible date through a joint submission that saw a judicial stay of proceedings on one count of break and enter and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
“The Pyro days are done. I hope you understand that this isn’t the proper way to deal with that,” said Judge Gale Sinclair.
Charges against the 19-year-old’s older brother Eric Olivier Daoust, 23, will return to court at another date. The elder Daoust plead not guilty to placing an explosive to damage property.
The charges stem from a complaint received by the RCMP of suspicious activity on Aug. 12 when a resident came into the detachment with a piece of metal that causes damage to a garage. Upon further investigation at the Earle Crescent residence, RCMP observed what they believed to be the blast site under a 1991 Toyota Camry based on scarring on the cement driveway and nearby fragments.
Stephan’s friend confirmed to RCMP that he had been “cocky” about the bombing and bragged to them about how he did it. Upon his arrest Stephan admitted to Mounties he built the bomb using the black powder out of bird bangers he purchased at a local store, scrap metal that Eric welded together and then he inserted a 42 second wick. Stephan said he got Eric to drive him to the residence and wait in the car while he attached the bomb to the Toyota Camry. As they drove away they heard a loud bang.
Just under a month later the same house was involved in another incident. This time the female resident believed her grandson had returned home just before midnight when she heard her dog barking. Not seeing any lights come on, she opened the bedroom door and immediately experienced extreme burning to her eyes and face.
“I thought I had acid on my face,” Crown counsel Deb Drissell read from a police report. “I thought my eyes and skin had permanent damage.”
RCMP found an oily substance on the floor and emergency personnel experienced itching in the back of their throats which grew in intensity. A police officer then discovered a can of bear spray wrapped in electrical tape in a neighbouring hedge. Stephan admitted to police that he had been punched at a party by a man living at the Earle Crescent residence and had a feud with him because he had once “felt up” Stephan’s girlfriend. He said he went to the man’s house opened up the back door and emptied three-quarters of a can of bearspray.
Defence counsel Don Skogstad said Stephan had no intentions of hurting anyone with the bomb, despite Crown Counsel stating it very easily could have and that one resident had arrived home just 15 minutes prior to it going off. Skogstad said Stephan knew exactly what he was doing with the bomb and igniter but the explosion “may have been stronger than he suspected.” He also said the man he had the long-standing altercation with is known as a fighter and bully.
Stephan will serve his sentence intermittently on weekends at the Oliver detachment. This will be followed by a two-year probation that includes a curfew of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the first year and 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the second year.
Judge Sinclair issued the elder Daoust bail with conditions including a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, no contact with the complainants, a $2,000 surety and not to be in the company of his brother except under the presence of his parents or sister. Eric’s next scheduled day in court is Dec. 18.