KAMLOOPS - A man who stole a vehicle and crashed it into a car in Kamloops after stealing hundreds of dollars worth of lottery tickets could spend up to five years in prison for his crime spree.
Roderick Bailey, born 1973, appeared in Kamloops Provincial Court today, Feb. 1, for a sentencing hearing but he's not expected to learn his fate until later this month.
Crown prosecutor Satinder Sidhu believes Bailey should spend five years behind bars for a crime spree that began in Saskatchewan and ended in Vernon and left two people seriously injured.
Court heard Bailey and his co-accused Jody Pechawis began stealing lottery tickets from convenience stores in Saskatchewan. They came up with a plan – Pechawis would distract the store clerk while Bailey would steal lottery tickets.
They did this up to five times between February and May 2016 before Bailey, who has pleaded guilty to the offences, stole a vehicle and licence plates in Saskatchewan and fled to B.C.
The duo committed nearly identical offences when they came to B.C. On May 23, Bailey stole about $300 worth of lottery tickets from an Armstrong gas station while Pechawis distracted the clerk by spilling a cup of coffee.
Sidhu says hours later there was a similar report by a gas station on Okanagan Landing Road in Vernon. Pechawis asked for ice cream from the back of the store. While the clerk went to get it, Bailey stole about $300 worth of lottery tickets.
The next day Pechawis asked an employee at a convenience store on Tranquille Road in Kamloops about slushies. Sidhu said while that was happening, Bailey stole more lottery tickets valued at around $150 to $200. A witness saw Bailey leave the store with a tray of tickets and found it suspicious so he wrote down the licence plate and noted the vehicle was a Suzuki Vitara.
On May 26, Pechawis used the coffee distraction in Merritt, this time Bailey made off with $460 worth of scratch tickets. The next day, a Kamloops Mountie spotted a vehicle with a similar description parked near Aspen Street and Tranquille Road in Kamloops. The officer approached the Suzuki, found the identification number, and confirmed the vehicle was stolen.
The officer asked for a tow truck so they could begin investigating, but Sidhu says within seconds Bailey and Pechawis got into the stolen vehicle.
"Within seconds a male and female ran from behind the vehicle," Sidhu said. "They continued to ignore (the officer's) instructions to stop."
The officer told them they were under arrest but they drove away.
Another officer followed the vehicle and put its emergency lights and sirens on after spotting the Suzuki on the Overlanders Bridge heading downtown, reaching high speeds and weaving in and out of traffic. The officer decided to end the chase to protect the public.
Shortly after, an officer responded to an accident on Battle Street and 8 Avenue. One of the vehicles involved was a Suzuki Vitara, but by the time the officer arrived that vehicle had no occupants.
Court heard that a witness stopped to help after seeing the accident. He pulled his Ford Focus over and called 911. He got out of the vehicle to see if everyone was all right, but Bailey and Pechawis got out of the Suzuki and stole the witness's Ford Focus.
The other vehicle belonged to the Allisons. Marilyn was unconscious in the passenger seat, while Robert was unresponsive in the driver's seat.
Sidhu says the couple were seriously injured; Marilyn suffered a broken neck among other injuries, while Robert had his broken jaw wired shut for some time.
Bailey and Pechawis, in the stolen Ford Focus, made off to Vernon. After the accident, a Husky gas station attendant reported someone had stolen $540 worth of lottery tickets.
Bailey had distracted the clerk by asking for Tylenol.
Police found the stolen Ford Focus in the driveway of a home on 34 Street in Vernon. Bailey was hiding beside the vehicle and refused to show his hands to police several times before jumping into the vehicle.
The officer asked him again to show his hands, but Bailey didn't. The officer tasered Bailey twice before arresting him.
At the police station, Bailey asked officers if anyone had been seriously injured in the Kamloops crash and told police Pechawis was injured. He also complained of a hurt knee and ankle.
Sidhu says Bailey admitted to police that he was involved in the accident. He said he knew police were following him and tried to make it through the Battle Street and 8 Avenue intersection without stopping at the stop sign.
"He said he gambled and lost," Sidhu said.
Defence lawyer Raj Basra told the court his client should spend two years less a day behind bars, followed by a probation period of two years. But oddly, Bailey spoke up in court asking for a different sentence.
He wants a suspended sentence with a one-year probation period.
Judge Christopher Cleaveley is expected to make his decision on sentencing on Feb. 16.
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