Kelowna drug addict pleads guilty to Penticton bike theft charges

FILE PHOTO - RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Don Wrigglesworth, shown with a number of stolen bikes the detachment recovered last summer. Jason Gerry Lance was sentenced today, March. 20, 2017, to 210 days in jail for his part in several bike thefts in Penticton and Peachland last year.

PENTICTON - A Kelowna man, with an addiction to methamphetamine, has been sentenced in Penticton court to almost seven months for stealing bicycles and car tires, and drug possession.

Jason Gerry Lance, 31, was sentenced by Judge Gale Sinclair in Penticton court today, March 20, after Lance entered guilty pleas to 10 charges, including breach, possession of break in instruments, possession of stolen property under $5,000, drug possession and driving while prohibited. The charges stem from five separate incidents that occurred between April and October last year.

Crown prosecutor Kevin Foty told court, police on patrol in Penticton spotted Lance on Penticton Avenue on April 10, 2016 riding a bicycle down the street with two vehicle tires hanging from the handlebars. Lance pedalled away instead of stopping for police, leading them down a back alley to the corner of Main Street and Nelson Avenue where he fell off his bike, cutting his head.

Lance was arrested and charged after police found break and entry tools in his backpack. Lance admitted to taking the tires from a locked, fenced compound at Kal Tire, where a fence was found damaged. The tires, worth $50 to $60 each, were returned to Kal Tire.

On Aug. 12, 2016, a Peachland resident reported the theft of three bikes from a rack on his truck and on August 30, 2016 a Penticton resident reported the theft of bikes valued at $600 from a compound at their home.

Later that day, Penticton RCMP observed two men and a woman standing in a front yard of an Van Horne Street residence with three high-end mountain bikes. One of the men, Lance, was standing beside a red, Specialized brand mountain bike.

Police were aware of the thefts the previous night and of the reputation of the Van Horne residence as drug house. Police checked the serial numbers of the bikes and found the Speciallized bike reported had been reported stolen in the Peachland theft.

Lance was arrested, and during a search of his person found 2.49 grams of methamphetamine and 0.29 grams of heroin hidden in a headphone case. He was released on bail on a promise to appear.

On Oct. 28, Bike Barn owner Will Pratt reported to police a man had entered his store with a bike he learned was stolen. Pratt was able to look at the serial number of the bike, which matched that of a bike he’d sold to another customer. Pratt phoned the customer, who was unaware his bike had been stolen. Pratt called police, but Lance became aware of the situation and fled the store.

Police caught up to Lance in a downtown pawnshop. A search of his backpack upon arrest revealed a tin cigarette case containing four grams of methamphetamine, as well as break in tools.

Lance was then discovered by a Kelowna RCMP officer passed out, lying on the asphalt in the parking lot at Kelowna City Hall. The officer had difficulty wakening Lance, who appeared to be under the influence of drugs. A background check on Lance revealed him in breach of bail conditions and was in possession of methamphetamine.

Crown asked Judge Sinclair for a total sentence of 210 days in jail, which would amount to time served with enhanced credit.

“The underlying reasons for Lance being before court is due to his addiction to meth," Michael Patterson, agent for defence lawyer Don Skogstad, told the court.

Calling the proposal “more or less a joint submission,” he said the only objection he had was the imposition of a curfew for his client who has a job prospect in Alberta upon his release.

Patterson said his client had been undergoing counselling when he left the program halfway through his treatment, and began getting into trouble again. Patterson also told court his client had the support of his parents and expressed remorse for his actions.

“He’s not a hardened criminal,” Patterson told the judge.

Judge Sinclair agreed to Crown’s submission, noting the period of incarceration amounted to time served.

Lance will be on probation for a year. During that time he’s to stay away from Kal Tire, all of his victims and attend counselling. He won’t be allowed to possess weapons or break-in instruments, and must serve 15 hours of community service work in the next six months.


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