PENTICTON - A Penticton woman narrowly escaped a jail sentence in Penticton Provincial court today, but she could still end up behind bars on July 11 if she gets into any more trouble.
That was the stern message Judge Gale Sinclair sent to 24-year-old Ashlyn Shirelle Johnson, who faced a litany of charges related to a series of shoplifting thefts over several months.
Johnson pled guilty today, April 25, to charges of theft over and under $5,000 for shoplifting incidents at Penticton Safeway, Penticton Real Canadian Superstore, West Kelowna Walmart, and Penticton Lordco.
On March 30, 2015, Johnson and a male accomplice were apprehended after taking $111.60 worth of merchandise from Penticton Safeway. On Aug. 22, 2015, she was caught by Real Canadian Superstore security personnel with $316.02 worth of merchandise she hadn’t paid for. On Sept. 9, 2015, Johnson and two accomplices shoplifted $3,288.16 worth of merchandise from West Kelowna Walmart. They were caught when their minivan ran out of gas near Summerland. An RCMP officer stopped to investigate the vehicle parked on the roadside and noticed the stolen goods inside.
On October 9, 2015, Johnson was caught near Canadian Tire in Penticton after walking out of the Lordco Auto Parts store with a baby carriage containing stolen flashlights, a drill, and other items worth a total of $1,400.
Crown Prosecutor Vern Frolick sought more than 100 days jail time and lengthy probation for Johnson, noting the increasing size of the thefts, and the complex nature of the West Kelowna Walmart theft. He said Johnson suffered from a “long standing meth addiction” and needed the jail time to dry out.
Defence lawyer Robert Maxwell handed Judge Sinclair a ream of letters written by family and friends on behalf of Johnson. He said his client was looking for a suspended sentence and was amenable to a mandatory counselling condition.
“By early July, if you keep your nose clean, you might escape jail, but you had better be in treatment. If you’re not, you’re going to jail. That’s a promise,” said the judge, pointing his finger at Johnson.
“Any more nonsense and you’re going to jail for 83 days. You’d better be real good, and you better be in treatment,” he added, adjourning her case until July 11.
Johnson faces further court appearances for a number of not guilty pleas to other charges and will face further court dates in the coming weeks. She will also need new counsel for those matters.
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