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Thief with a taste for expensive ice wine gets five months in jail

April 08, 2016 - 6:30 PM

KELOWNA – A 51-year-old Kelowna man who went on an ice wine shoplifting spree last year was sentenced to five months in jail today, April 8.

On May 21, 2015, between 11:46 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Joseph Nadjiwan, 51, stole around half a dozen bottles of local ice wine from four different Kelowna liquor stores.

Over the next six months, security cameras captured Nadjiwan stealing bottles of alcohol from other liquor stores and seafood from a grocery store. An officer even tried to pull Nadjiwan over after he fled a traffic stop in Rutland but he got away when the officer abandoned the chase after Nadjiwan almost crashed.

It wasn’t until Dec. 20 that another officer saw Nadjiwan doing 100 km/h in a 50 km/h zone and pulled him over. Again Nadjiwan tried to flee, this time on foot, but a helpful bystander caught him and held him in place until police could finally get him in handcuffs.

A search revealed he had .59 grams of heroin on him, worth just over $100.

Provincial Court Judge Brad Chapman heard that Nadjiwan, a member of a First Nation in Ontario, had a difficult upbringing, lived on his own since the age of 13 and a history of drug addiction. He also had recently lost several close friends and mentors before the crime spree and his wife was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

“He stole the ice wine to drink and forget about the tribulations in his life,” defence lawyer Blaine Weststrate said. “He is remorseful. He is embarrassed and ashamed of what he’s done.”

Nadjiwan, appearing via video from Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre, broke down when asked if there was anything he wanted to say.

“I would like to say I am very sorry for what I’ve done and I am ashamed. I’ve lost a lot in my life… I just lost it. I don’t know what more I can say. I just wish I could be there with (my wife).”

Chapman reminded him that mistakes are a part of life, as are paying for them, and sentenced him to five months in jail, one year of probation and a one-year driving ban.

“Life does carry with it ups and downs,” he said. “You’re still relatively young. There’s still a lot of life ahead of you. Life always throw curves at us and it’s how we deal with them that speaks about us. If we don’t deal with it in socially acceptable ways we end up hurting others or ourselves.”

Nadjiwan has a criminal record going back to the 1980s including numerous convictions for thefts and trafficking in Quebec where he spent seven months in jail.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw or call 250-718-0428 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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