Penticton News

Prolific Penticton offender pleads guilty to theft charges

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

PENTICTON - A man described by a Penticton judge as having "reached a fork in the road" will have an opportunity to give up addiction and a life of crime in favour of a productive existence after sentencing in court today.

Ian James Macdonald, 39, pled guilty in Penticton court today, Feb. 11, to three counts of theft under $5,000 and breach in charges from two separate incidents.

Crown prosecutor Ann Lerechs told court police were notified of video surveillance that showed Macdonald entering vehicles and removing items from them at the Sunny Beach Motel in Penticton between 4 and 5 a.m. on July 19, 2018.

One of the Macdonald’s victims, a Burnaby resident staying at the motel, told police his vehicle had been entered and some Ray Ban sunglasses, a flashlight and change totalling $332, had been taken.

Macdonald was also found to be in breach of a court ordered curfew during the incident.

The following day, July 20, police were notified of a theft at Andre’s Electronics in Penticton. A customer waiting while his cell phone was being serviced was captured on video surveillance taking a store employee’s Galaxy S7 cell phone, along with a Sony bluetooth speaker from the store’s inventory. The man was easily identified as Macdonald, as he had left his name with the store with respect to getting his own cell phone serviced.

Lerchs told Judge Michelle Daneliuk that Macdonald had an extensive criminal record with more than 119 convictions that included 30 property offences and 16 theft charges.

She asked for a sentence totalling 330 days for the offences, including 180 days for the motel vehicle theft, 30 days for breaching conditions, and four months on each of the Andre’s Electronics thefts, concurrent to each other.

Macdonald, who has been in custody since Aug. 8 last year, has 281 days served in enhanced credit.

In spite of an abysmal criminal record, Macdonald is still a strong candidate to turn his life around, argued defence lawyer Michael Patterson.

He said his 39-year-old client’s criminality stemmed from a life of stealing to feed a habit of methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine.

Since being incarcerated at Okanagan Correctional Centre, Macdonald had taken every opportunity move forward in his life with the aim of becoming a productive member of society. He was currently studying welding and was a few weeks away from receiving red seal certification as a welder.

Patterson asked the judge to consider Macdonald’s sentence as time served.

Macdonald said he was “deeply sorry” about what he’d done and said he felt terrible for his victims. He said he had been trying his best while in jail to better himself saying Okanagan Correctional Centre offered a lot of opportunities.

Judge Daneliuk took exception with Macdonald’s lengthy criminal record and the fact he committed further offences while on court ordered conditions, but she also noted his early guilty pleas, his remorse and his efforts to rehabilitate himself.

“There comes a time, and Mr. Macdonald may have arrived there now, when faced with the metaphorical fork in the road… The way I see it, Mr. Macdonald is there now. He can either put his words spoken today and put them into action to lead a law abiding life, or he can continue down the previous path he was on and, frankly waste most of the rest of his life in jail,” she said.

“I sincerely hope, Mr. Macdonald, you do not choose the latter path.”

Macdonald received a sentence totalling 285 days, or time served. He will remain in custody for the time being, however as he deals with other matters not related to today’s issues.

He will also serve a 12-month probationary period and a stand-alone restitution order to his victims totalling $1,191.

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