VERNON - A Vernon man says he was denied detox services for the third time shortly before attempting to carjack a woman’s vehicle and breaking into a nearby home.
David Arthur Bruno Sammartino, born in 1984, was sentenced in Vernon Provincial Court Wednesday, April 1, on two charges of breaking and entering, and one of attempted robbery.
Crown counsel Jeffrey Dyment said the first break and enter happened sometime between Oct. 3 and 7, 2014 at a summer home on Eastside Road in Vernon. The homeowner reported numerous items stolen, including a bike, binoculars, pellet gun and bottles of wine.
The RCMP forensic unit analyzed the scene and recovered a fingerprint on a game console that belonged to Sammartino, already on probation for theft.
On Oct. 8, a Vernon Jubilee Hospital employee sitting in her car was suddenly confronted by a man wearing yellow hospital pants and a hoody. The man opened her car door and attempted—unsuccessfully because she had her seatbelt on—to pull her out. He then reached over, grabbed her keys out of the ignition and threw them on the pavement.
“She indicated the male did not say anything to her but had a glazed look in his eyes,” Dyment said, adding the woman suffers from anxiety and a lingering sense of suspicion towards strangers.
Hospital records revealed Sammartino had recently left the hospital. A bylaw officer followed him to a house on 17 Avenue and notified police. When officers arrived, they discovered the house empty. A pair of yellow pyjama pants lay on the floor of the master bedroom, and the homeowner, who arrived shortly after, said a pair of sweat pants and a piggy bank with roughly $300 had been taken.
The RCMP dog team was called in, and local schools notified to prepare for lock down. Police located Sammartino on a foot path near Fulton Secondary discarding some clothing in the bushes. He was arrested and taken into custody.
Defence lawyer Ignatius Pielecki said Sammartino was trying to get clean at the time, having developed a heroin addiction after losing part of his thumb in a workplace accident and being given, and then taken off, morphine. He went three times to Vernon Jubilee Hospital seeking detox services, but was turned away each time. Before attending the third time, Pielecki said his client phoned the mental health outreach clinic and was told he could go to the hospital.
“He had taken some steps to deal with matters, but clearly when he left the hospital on Oct. 8 he was not thinking very clearly….” Pielecki said. “He was very angry he had been refused service at the hospital.”
Judge Mark Takahashi said the situation was likely not as “dramatic” as made out to be, because addictions services were presumably being provided to Sammartino at the time as part of his probation order.
Takahashi ordered a sentence of four months in jail on each of the break and enter charges, and 12 months on the attempted robbery of the woman’s vehicle, plus a two year probation. The time he spent in custody awaiting sentencing was used towards his sentence, leaving him with 341 days of new time. Numerous family members and friends were in the courtroom to support him.
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