Thief called on cell phone theft in Penticton

Joshua Jacob Munro pleaded guilty to several charges including fraud and using a stolen credit.

A man is spending the next nine months in jail after buying smartphones with a stolen credit card and driver’s license.

Joshua Jacob Munro, 19, pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud under $5,000, two counts of personation with intent to obtain property and one count of possessing and using a stolen credit card on Monday.

It is unclear how Munro came to possess the stolen credit card and identification, but on Oct. 29, 2015 Jeffery Hansen had lost his wallet, and after calling the bank had learned that there had been activity on his credit card.

On Oct. 31, 2015 Ronald Hansen reported that his company truck had been stolen while he was working in Oliver, along with his wallet, and he too was informed by the bank that there had been activity on his card in Okanagan Falls. The truck was recovered Nov. 20, 2015 in Medicine Hat, Alta.

Crown counsel Nashina Devji was unsure of the relationship between Jeffery and Ronald Hansen.

On May 5, police were dispatched to the Rogers Wireless store in the Cherry Lane Shopping Centre. The staff informed police that a man had conducted three separate transactions over three days under the guise of Jeffery Hansen, providing an ID in that name, purchasing six smartphones, valued at approximately$3,500, on a credit card belonging to Ronald Hansen.

Staff said they were tipped off by a fraud alert. The manager checked the ID in Munro’s possession and noted that the age and appearance were a mismatch.

Around the same time staff at The Source in Cherry Lane Mall contacted RCMP stating that Munro had purchased two phones on May 3. Munro signed those contracts with an email that has his real name in the address.

Police were able to confirm with staff at both stores that the man purchasing the phones had the same unique tattoos on his hands as Munro.

Later that day, Rogers Wireless phoned RCMP yet again to inform them that Munro was back in the store attempting to register and activate multiple cell phones.

Six minutes later RCMP were on scene and attempted to arrest Munro. Munro asked if he could have a cigarette after being informed he was under arrest. When police refused, Munro attempted to take off running through the mall. Officers pursued on foot and were able to take Munro to the ground, however, he was able to get back on his feet and flee again. Munro was chased through a hair salon in the mall where he was finally taken into custody, struggling during his arrest and continuing to resist in custody, telling police in “colourful language” that he was not coming with them, Devji said.

Munro was found to be in possession of three cell phones, three SIM cards, a B.C. driver’s license belonging to Jeffery Hansen and a Mastercard belonging to Ronald Hansen. Also in his possession were receipts from a Penticton pawn shop for the sale of the phones he had purchased earlier.

Devji said that Munro’s conviction list is “particularly lengthy” for a young man. Munro was on probation at the time of the offence relating to a property crime conviction in August 2015.

“In fact he was on probation for property offences while committing property offences,” Devji said.

Defence counsel for Munro, Robert Maxwell, said that Munro was resorting to fraud to fuel a methamphetamine addiction he has had over the past four years, and that his client told him that he has been on probation since he was 14 years old.

“This is a very easy sentence for me,” Maxwell said. “I’ve got a client that said ‘you know what, plead me guilty,’ he said ‘I’d rather do more time than probation time.’”

Munro said being in custody will be a good time to work on himself and get his life back on track.

“I don’t mind the time in jail, it’ll probably be good for me, but if I can get six months — or less time probation because I feel I need a fresh start after this, I ask for your leniency,” Munro told Judge Brad Chapman.

“This isn’t anything to be proud of,” Chapman told Munro.

“I’m not proud of it, at all,” Munro replied.

Munro was given a light probation of one year, ordered to keep the peace and not to attend the Cherry Lane Shopping Centre.