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Vernon man guilty of identity theft gets weekends in jail

February 19, 2020 - 6:30 PM

A Vernon man who attempted to open a bank account using a stolen ID will spend his weekends for the next couple of months in jail.

Provincial Court Judge Richard Hewson dismissed Doug Patrick Wiebe's argument that he was "trying to fit in" with the crowd, telling the 39-year-old his crimes were committed out of "sneakiness and dishonesty."

"I can't help but notice that these are the sort of crimes that aren't committed by somebody trying to fit in,” Judge Hewson said. "I deal every day with people that commit stupid crimes... in order to go along with the crowd or to look good to a girl or a guy, but that's not what these crimes were about, these crimes were assuming somebody else's identity.”

Representing himself in court, Wiebe interrupted the judge while he was handing down his sentence saying "please don't let me lose my job."

The Vernon Courthouse heard today, Feb. 19, how Wiebe had entered the TD Bank in Vernon in December 2018 and attempted to open an account with someone else's driving licence.

During the transaction, bank staff grew suspicious and asked Wiebe whether he already had an account with TD. Wiebe said no, but the bank staff could see the name on the licence did have an account. They called their customer who informed them he was not currently in the branch trying to open an account and his wallet had been stolen six months earlier.

The RCMP was called and Wiebe was arrested. Along with the driving licence he had several other IDs from the same person in his possession.

Scheduled for trial Jan. 25, Wiebe pled guilty to charges of impersonation with intent to gain advantage and identity theft at the beginning of the proceedings.

Hewson pointed to the late guilty plea as an indication Wiebe wasn't particularly remorseful.

Wiebe said he'd spent most of his life trying to fit in with other people and had done "a lot of stupid things" and "a lot of things I regret." He said in the last six months he had stopped trying to fit in and be himself.

The court heard Wiebe had a stable upbringing but got into drugs when he was 15. He said he'd been sober since last year.

Pointing to a criminal record dating back to when he was 19 with "significant" property offences, Crown prosecutor James Bagan asked for 20 to 30 days jail time.

Wiebe said he was working as a painter and requested a suspended sentence.

Judge Hewson disagreed sentencing Wiebe to 21 days jail served on weekends from 7 p.m. Friday to 3 p.m. Sunday, so he can still go to work.

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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