Kelowna man robbed banks to avoid homelessness, court hears - InfoNews

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Kelowna man robbed banks to avoid homelessness, court hears

Kelowna Law Courts
June 26, 2019 - 2:02 PM

KELOWNA -A "financially desperate" Kelowna man pleaded guilty Wednesday, June 26, to three counts of robbery and one charge of using an imitation weapon.

Judge Marguerite Shaw sentenced William Martens, 59,  to 30 months in jail for three robberies that took place over several months and an additional 212 days for the use of an imitation gun, taking into consideration the time he has already served since his arrest.

Martens was arrested Saturday, March 16 following a robbery at the TD Canada Trust on Harvey Avenue. It followed robberies at the Rutland branch of Scotiabank on Jan. 31 and the Mission branch of the Royal Bank on March 1.

Crown counsel told the court that Martens is a first-time offender. He has a son in his early thirties from a previous relationship who lives in Alberta. His mother also resides in Alberta along with his younger brother and sister. The Crown described the family's reaction to his crimes as “astonished.” 

The court heard that Martens committed the robberies “out of desperation” after running out of work, money and needing food. The Crown said that Martens chose to rob banks rather than live on the street. When asked by the Crown why he did not reach out to social services or family for financial aid, Martens said that because of how he was raised, asking for help wasn’t an option. The Crown suggested that pride was likely a factor.

Martens stole $1,700 in total. At the final robbery on March 16 the teller at TD Canada gave Martens a GPS bait pack, which led RCMP to Martens less than an hour following the theft.

Judge Shaw deemed Martens to be clearly “financially desperate” the time of the crimes, and that she believed his sentencing at his age to be “a significant and serious wake-up call.”

Martens did not resist arrest and immediately confessed to all three robberies once he was taken into custody. He appeared in court Wednesday via video.


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