No jail for Vernon man's botched gas station robbery | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon News

No jail for Vernon man's botched gas station robbery

A 57-year-old Vernon man won't do jail time for his botched attempt to rob a Lumby gas station.

After more than three decades of living crime-free, but then in the throes of crack cocaine abuse, Danny John Charette, had wandered into a gas station in Lumby and attempted to rob it.

The robbery was so poorly executed the gas station clerk had first thought Charette was joking until he said he had a knife.

He failed to steal anything in the robbery and left empty-handed.

Two days earlier in a similar disorganized fashion, Charette had robbed another gas station in Vernon, this time scribbling "money and all your cash" on a piece of packaging and showing the clerk a make-shift pipe bomb.

The clerk panicked and handed over $100.

Charette has no recollection of the robbery, but after being shown the surveillance camera footage he pled guilty.

In neither robbery did Charette bother to conceal his face.

READ MORE: After 30 years crime free, Vernon man robs two gas stations in two days

In June 2021 he was sentenced to 14 months jail for the Vernon robbery. He was released in March this year, and has been living with and caring for his elderly mother since.

Charette's defence lawyer Claire Mastop argued that her client should receive a sentence of house arrest for the Lumby gas station robbery and pointed out, as he didn't actually steal anything, the crime could have been prosecuted as an attempted robbery.

The Crown didn't agree and wanted a 15 to 18-month jail sentence.

Mastop had argued Charette's case was one of "exceptional circumstances."

She said Charette had lived in Prince George and worked as a heavy equipment operator. He'd been married for more than 20 years before getting divorced in 2016.

The same year as the divorce he lost his licence and was convicted of theft.

Some time afterwards he moved to Vernon to live with and care full-time for his elderly mother who has dementia.

It's not clear when Charette started using crack cocaine but in an earlier statement to the court, his sister had said the drugs had "transformed" her brother from being kind and caring to being angry all the time.

In arguing her case that Charette should receive house arrest, Mastop had pointed out that there were no spaces for those suffering from dementia in Vernon care homes and the community was better served with Charette living with and caring for his elderly mother than being incarcerated.

Provincial Court Judge Dennis Morgana agreed, and on July 18 handed down a sentence of 18 months of house arrest. Charette also received a lifetime firearms ban.

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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