PENTICTON - A Penticton woman who straightened out her life five years ago only to slip up was given a second chance in Penticton court this week.
Angela Robyn Keith received a suspended sentence for two counts of theft under $5,000. She faces strict probation terms but was granted a reprieve by Judge Gale Sinclair, who noted she had been able to stay out of trouble for five years because she avoided taking drugs.
Keith’s most recent troubles began Feb. 28, 2015, when she was caught shoplifting clothing from Pipsqueaks and Damsels consignment store on Skaha Lake Road in Penticton.
When the sales clerk discovered her shoplifting, she called police and locked Keith in the store, which resulted in some name calling by Keith.
In addition to the theft, police found drug paraphanalia in her purse.
On March 25 Keith was again apprehended for shoplifting, this time when a Safeway clerk noticed her placing $148 worth of grocery items in her grocery bag and walking out the door without paying for it.
Keith told police she took the groceries to help her son out.
Crown Prosecutor Catherine Crockett told court Keith had an extensive criminal record involving theft, fraud and drug convictions, calling her a 'health risk to the community' because she had complete access to two potentially vulnerable people who she claimed she was providing with assistance.
“She’s putting herself out there as a home caregiver to vulnerable people who may not know her past dishonest activity. It’s a risky situation,” Crockett said in requesting a 45-day jail sentence, followed by 12 months of probation.
Defense lawyer James Pennington said 40-year-old Keith’s record was clearly that of someone who had battled for years with substance abuse issues. He suggested the two people Keith was helping already knew her background, noting statements had been made saying she had been 'of immense assistance to both,' and that Keith is also qualified in level three first aid.
Pennington said his client admitted her shoplifting incident at Pipsqueaks and Damsels had been 'absolutely stupid,' and even though the Safeway event had been more complicated, there was still no excuse for it. He suggested intermittent jail time, or a suspended sentence.
Keith spoke on her own behalf, telling court she had relapsed on drugs when the first shoplifting incident occurred. She said sending her to jail would put her '10 steps backwards' because she had been out of trouble for five years now.
“You’ve had nothing since 2010 because you weren’t doing drugs,” Judge Sinclair said Monday, Dec. 14, agreeing to a suspended sentence and a 15-month probation term under strict conditions.
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