Vernon court hears 'tragic case' of Upper Room Mission bottle thief | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon court hears 'tragic case' of Upper Room Mission bottle thief

Upper Room Mission
July 31, 2019 - 6:00 PM

VERNON - A homeless man suffering from brain damage who broke into the Upper Room Mission and stole bags of empty bottles in January, pled guilty today in a Vernon courtroom.

Justice Dennis Morgan told Dakota Bobb, born in 1995, the Upper Room Mission was there to help him and that he was reliant on their services.

"Living on the street is difficult enough don't make it more difficult for yourself," Justice Morgan said.

Defence lawyer Nicholas Jacob said the case was a "tragic situation."

The court heard how Bobb had been diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome and suffered permanent brain damage. Bobb has a lengthy criminal record including break and enter, theft and assault, along with 18 breaches of probation and several breaches of bail.

"(Bobb's) cognitive challenges make it difficult for him to follow even the most basic of instructions," Jacob said.

Bobb sat in the courtroom, his in legs and hands in cuffs, in a tattered T-shirt and shorts. He had a large open wound on his neck.

Crown lawyer Miho Ogi-Harris told the court how at around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 31, Bobb along with Jared Flemming, had broken through a chain-link fence and into the Upper Room Mission and stole approximately 19 or 20 bags of empty bottles and cans. The bottles were being collected for a children's charity.

Staff at the Upper Room Mission identified Bobb as he regularly used their services. Flemming was also wearing a jacket the charity had recently given him.

Mission staff approached Bobb and the other man sometime afterwards and asked them about the bottle theft. Flemming admitted to the theft and said he felt remorse and he would not have stolen them if he had known they were for the children's charity.

Bobb did not react the same way and threw his lunch at the staff member.

He was arrested in February and as part of his probation was ordered to stay off Upper Room Mission property. He was arrested again weeks later for being on the Mission's property.

Justice Morgan said it was largely pointless to impose probation restrictions not to go to the Mission as it was impossible for Bobb to follow them.

The Mission was described as "the last bastion of hope" for people in Bobb's position.

The crown asked for 60 days of prison time for the theft and seven days for the breach of probation. The defence agreed with the sentencing.

Justice Morgan sentenced him to 67 days but he was released because he had already served the time.


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