Penticton man admits to cocaine fuelled crimes; allowed to serve remainder of sentence in the community

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

PENTICTON - A Penticton man — who left his kids on his church doorstep at the height of his cocaine addiction — pleaded guilty in Penticton court today, promising to seek treatment and pay back his victims.

Dallas Wayne Millard, 30, pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of stolen property under $5,000, three counts of fraud and one count of driving while prohibited in court today, Oct.3, after spending 79 days in custody.  He’ll serve his sentence in the community under a conditional order after gaining the trust of Judge Gregory Koturbash.

Crown prosecutor Ann Lerechs told court Millard and two co-accused took part in a two-day spending spree using a stolen Visa card to rack up some 27 fraudulent purchases in several Penticton retail stores between May 3 and 4 of this year.

After the victim reported his wallet stolen from his vehicle on May 3, an informant told police who were making the purchases.

Police set up surveillance and attempted to pick up Millard on May 4 after following him to the 24/7 convenience store at Main and Eckhardt Avenue. Millard pretended not to relate to officer’s calls in his name to stop, eventually presenting stolen identification in a bid to convince the officer he was someone else.

Police were able to figure out his real identity at the same time finding him to be a prohibited driver.

Millard, driving with passengers, had his vehicle impounded. Police also found approximately $250 worth of groceries in the back of the vehicle. He was released on a promise to appear.

Police obtained a search warrant the following day for his Eckhardt Avenue residence. In it they found a wallet with a stolen credit card, Air Miles card and photo identification, along with a .22 calibre rifle without the bolt. Police also found quantities of suspected cocaine and methamphetamine. Groceries matching those found in the vehicle found and in the residence were also linked to the stolen credit card.

Video surveillance of several stores allowed police to identify Millard and two accomplices making purchases at several retailers totalling over $7,100.

On May 17, three bikes were reported stolen from a shed behind the Penticton Youth Hostel and International Hostel. Police later caught Millard in the act of transferring one of the bikes into some bushes at his residence. He told police he had received a text message saying someone had dropped “a couple of hot things” in the garage, and had no idea where the two bikes inside had come from.

Lerechs said Millard had no prior criminal record, only driving infractions, but called the frauds a “sophisticated crime” with respect to the large number of transactions undertaken in a short period of time. She recommended a sentence of eight-and-a-half to 11-and-a-half months followed by 18 months of probation.

Millard apologized to the court and his victims while admitting to his criminal offences. He said it was his first time in jail and had been a “learning experience.” He told Judge Gregory Koturbash he began using cocaine as his marriage broke down, at one point fleeing his family after leaving them on the steps of his church.

“The divorce really spiralled me,” he said.

Defence lawyer Michael Patterson said his client is a father of four who “entered the wrong crowd” and became part of a “criminal fraternity” to fuel a cocaine habit.

Millard, who refused to admit he was addicted to the drug until he was in jail, was now intent on seeking support and getting continuing treatment.

Patterson called the crimes foolish rather than sophisticated noting his client, who was a skilled tiler, could make good his intentions to get straight and pay restitution. He asked the judge for a 12 month conditional sentence.

“The community has been hard hit by property crime, much of it fueled by people with drug addictions,” Judge Koturbash said, adding he was prepared to take “a very calculated risk” with Millard, who he said appeared to have “powerful insights into his behaviour.”

The judge also felt the crimes to have been unsophisticated in nature, seeing them as more of "an opportunity to max out the credit card as quickly as possible."

Millard was sentenced to a total of 15 months jail. With credit for time served he’ll be allowed to serve the remaining 339 days of his sentence in the community. He also was sentenced to a one year driving prohibition. He was given a $600 restitution order and 18 months probation that includes no entry into several Penticton retailers.

“I hope you don’t let me, and more importantly, your kids, down,” Judge Koturbash said.

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