Teen gets probation for theft of veteran’s car

A Penticton teen is serving probation after he was found driving a veteran's car by police last summer.

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A Penticton teen received probation, a fine and community service after he was found driving a stolen car belonging to a veteran.

The 16-year-old cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, pleaded guilty Monday, July 25 to possession of stolen property over $5,000 and breaching court-ordered conditions in Penticton Provincial Court.

On July 7, 2015 just before 9 a.m. a man reported his 2005 Kia Amanti was stolen out of the garage at his Penticton residence.

Police received information the vehicle had been sighted in outlying areas near Penticton and later an RCMP officer passed the vehicle on Eastside Road — five kilometres south of Penticton.

After turning around the officer noted the stolen vehicle had parked in a pullout area on the side of the road and one male had ran off into the hillside. Another male remained by the passenger door. The officer pursued the male up the hillside and discovered two males, including the 16-year-old in question, who produced the keys to the vehicle from his pants pocket.

He told police he had met up with friends the night before to have some beers at Skaha Lake. Afterwards two of his teenage friends entered a garage and stole the vehicle. He told police they took turns driving the vehicle to Osoyoos.

The teen denied driving the car and told police after he noticed the veteran’s license plates he refused to drive the vehicle. However, Crown counsel, Kurt Froehlich, said police reviewed dash camera footage which revealed the teen was, in fact, driving the car when it was found on Eastside Road.

Items including cigarettes, chips, chocolate bars and beer were found in a duffle bag in the car, consistent with what police believed to be items stolen from a series of reported break and enters on July 7, 2015.

“Those aren’t the subject of the charges that are before you today,” Froehlich said.

After being released on a court-ordered undertaking, including an 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, the teen was caught fleeing from the Penticton Lakeside Resort parkade around 5:30 a.m. on June 12, 2016 after police were called in to investigate three males breaking into vehicles. The teen was observed exiting the stairs of the parkade and fleeing towards Okanagan Lake. Police eventually caught up with him and he was arrested.

The teen’s probation includes a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, which extends to 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekends and that he not ben in a vehicle without the registered owner present.

The teen was also ordered to complete 20 hours of community work service.