Crime spree started in Osoyoos with beer theft, ended in Vernon with truck crash - InfoNews

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Crime spree started in Osoyoos with beer theft, ended in Vernon with truck crash

Justen Morgan Sheena could face a three year jail term for numerous crimes up and down the Okangan valley, including the rollover of this transport truck in Vernon on July 11, 2017.
Image Credit: Galena Bieniada
April 09, 2018 - 4:38 PM

PENTICTON - A South Okanagan man with a serious addiction to alcohol could spend 36 months in jail for a string of crimes up and down the Okanagan valley.

It started with stealing booze and ended with Justen Morgan Sheena driving a stolen vehicle while drunk and already prohibited from driving, crashing the car and then stealing another vehicle and rolling it.

Sheena was identified as the culprit who stole mostly alcohol and food from six different stores in Osoyoos, Oliver, Kelowna and West Kelowna, but it got more serious when he was arrested and jailed following a final incident in Vernon, July 11, 2017. 

Police caught up with Sheena after he crashed a stolen Nissan Sentra into a landscape rock on a Vernon street then abandoned it for a bicycle.

He then stole a transport truck with a sea can on the trailer that had been left running near the accident scene.

Sheena eventually rolled the truck on Tronson Road in Vernon and resisted arrest before finally being subdued by police.

Liquor and beer was found in both vehicles and Sheena was arrested with two beer cans in his pockets, one of which had burst in the rollover.

Sheena was also a prohibited driver, on probation at the time of the offences.

Lerchs told Judge Jeremy Guild Sheena’s previous 43 convictions included three flight from police charges, three dangerous driving charges, five theft charges, four resisting arrest charges and one impaired driving charge.

She also noted a pre-sentence and Gladue report (a report requested when an offender is of Aboriginal status) for Sheena which indicated he had a strong addiction to alcohol as well as a difficult upbringing.

It also noted Sheena’s limited insight into his crimes, in that he claimed most of the damage "was covered by insurance.”

She asked the judge for a sentence of 180 days for the numerous shoplifting thefts, and an additional 24 to 30 months for the Vernon impaired driving incident.

Sheena, who has been in jail since July 11, 2017, has served 273 days in jail, 410 days with enhanced credit.

Lerchs also asked for a restitution order in excess of $74,000, to be paid to ICBC and the retail stores Sheena stole from.

Defence lawyer Norm Yates said his client, born in 1983, had a difficult childhood. His mother died when Sheena was very young and he never really knew his father.

“His formative years were not a good set up for adolescence,” Yates told the court.

Yates said his client wished to put his present lifestyle behind him, to end the revolving door process of going to jail, getting out and committing more crime.

He called Sheena a hard worker when sober, and needed to get out of a custodial setting and into a rehabilitative one.

Yates asked the judge for a 16 to 20 month sentence.

Sheena spoke to Judge Guild, telling him he had taken a list of courses while in Okanagan Correctional Centre. He said he was ready to start taking care of his two kids, as well as ready to get involved in a rehab program upon release from prison.

Judge Guild noted the numerous counts and informations facing Sheena, electing to adjourn sentencing, to seek more information on rehabilitation programs and their intake timing. The case was given over to the judicial case manager to fix a court appearance next week. 

- This story was corrected at 4:50 p.m. April 16 to correct misspelling of Justen Sheena's first name.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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