Identity thief who went on Vernon 'crime spree' loses appeal | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Identity thief who went on Vernon 'crime spree' loses appeal

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A B.C. court has dismissed an appeal from a Lower Mainland man convicted in Vernon for a crime spree that involved smashing car windows and snatching purses, then using the stolen IDs to buy electronics and furniture.

The three-judge panel at the B.C. Court of Appeal dismissed David Robert Anderson's appeal which argued the original judge made mistakes when sentencing him on 15 of 40 charges he pleaded guilty to.

Anderson argued his sentence was unduly harsh and the judge had mistook the sentence submissions of both the Crown and defence lawyers which led to him receiving a longer sentence.

In the Oct. 28 decision, B.C. Appeal Court Justice Elizabeth Bennett said while the case was "long and complex" and the original Judge had at one point misstated the lawyers' positions, the "misstatement" had no impact on the sentence.

In January 2018, David Robert Anderson arrived in Vernon in a $50,000 Jeep Cherokee he'd bought on credit using a fake ID. Together with his "partner in crime" Desiree Denise Kathleen Fisher, the pair targeted vehicles outside gyms, stole purses and bags, and used the IDs and credit cards to make multiple fraudulent purchases. Anderson even rented a U-Haul with a fake ID to cart the gear away.

The crime spree ended with a police chase and him crashing the U-Haul near Ellison Provincial Park.

The decision says the 34-year-old's lengthy criminal record was related to his drug addiction.

In August 2019, Fisher received a six-month conditional sentence to be served in the community.

In May, Anderson was sentenced to four and a half years jail for theft and identity fraud in the Lower Mainland, theft and identity fraud in Vernon, and driving offences following the car chase in Vernon. Having spent more than two years in custody Anderson was sentenced to spend another 11 months behind bars.

As Anderson's crime spree involved so many different offences in different locations, the original judge had to distinguish which crimes would be sentenced concurrently – whereby two sentences for two separate offences would run at the same time – and which would be served consecutively.

Anderson argued his Lower Mainland crime spree should be considered a part of his Vernon crime spree and therefore the sentences should be served concurrently.

"I do not agree," Justice Bennett said in the decision. "On a basic level, they were distinct in terms of time and place, which alone is sufficient to remove the offences from the same 'spree.'"

In the appeal decision, Justice Bennett also takes the time to highlight the damage caused by Anderson's crimes.

"Mr. Anderson committed a large number of offences over a number of months, moving through different communities," she said. "Stealing and using a person’s identity is a serious crime. The effects on the victim may be devastating. He has a significant record for similar offences.

"In addition, he drove like an unskilled, out-of-control race car driver, threatening the lives of police officers and citizens. His failure to cause serious injury was only by good luck and happenstance.

"His argument that he was drug-addicted and paying off drug debts offers no mitigating explanation of the crimes, nor does it explain his dangerous driving."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 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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