Man sentenced to probation 10 years after Okanagan arrest - InfoNews

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Man sentenced to probation 10 years after Okanagan arrest

June 11, 2019 - 6:30 PM

KELOWNA - In a decision over a decade in the making, a Manitoba man has been sentenced to probation and hefty community service after he was caught with a stolen truck in Lake Country.

Car theft, sadly, is hardly unique in the Okanagan and B.C. in general, but Sheldon's case sticks out. He was found in Lake Country driving a stolen a truck and was promptly arrested. The kicker? He was arrested in February 2009. The case has been sitting in limbo for over a decade.

Sheldon, 34, lives in Manitoba, which Crown lawyer Murray Kaay noted could have been a reason for the case's glacial progress. Sheldon appeared in the Kelowna courthouse on June 11 for his sentencing. His lawyer, Gavin Jones, accompanied him. Judge Cathie Heinrichs credited Jones, who began representing Sheldon in 2018, for moving the case along.

Kaay, as part of his joint submission with Jones, relayed the agreed-upon facts of the case. On Feb. 11, 2009, Lake Country police spotted a white truck with a hole on the driver's side. They pulled the truck over and found Sheldon behind the wheel. After a few questions, he admitted he'd stolen the truck from Castlegar six hours earlier. Police found a screwdriver in the truck's cup holder, which was determined to be a break and enter tool. The truck was carrying a ski-doo in the flat bed.

Sheldon was released on bail and eventually returned to Manitoba. On July 18, 2018, he failed to appear in court and was charged with breach of undertaking or recognizance.

On Dec. 18, 2018, Sheldon pled guilty to the breach and the charges of theft over $5000, possess break-in instrument, and PSP over $5000.

Kaay said the pre-sentence report showed Sheldon has steady employment and is regarded as a reliable worker. He, along with Jones, asked for 18 months probation and 100 hours of community service as opposed to any jail time.

Jones said his client has matured in the decade since the theft and he's shown an ability to accept responsibility for his actions and improve himself. He said Sheldon has worked hard to overcome problems with alcohol and drugs. In a brief address to the court, Sheldon apologized for his actions.

Judge Heinrichs agreed with the lawyers' request and sentenced Sheldon to probation and community service. She noted his remorse and steady track record.

"You've got what it takes to succeed," she said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Sean Mott or call (250) 864-7494 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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