Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

A Vancouver man busted for shoplifting days after being released from jail for stealing nearly $40,000 worth of art won’t be spending more time behind bars.

Frances Boivin was sentenced to a year of probation after pleading guilty to four counts of theft under $5,000 for a string of thefts between March and September. The incidents happened while he was on probation related to the art theft, with the first case — involving $96 bottle of alcohol from a west side liquor store — having occurred just one week after his release.

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The other guilty pleas involved the theft of a shirt and hoodie worth more than $3,000 from Holt Renfrew on July 8, $475 worth of food items from London Drugs on Aug. 30, and a $199 power drill he hid in his pants at a Home Depot on Sept. 18.

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“People are very supportive. I want to take advantage of that. I’m 51 years old and it’s time for me to have something different in my life,” Boivin told Global News outside the Vancouver Community Court on Tuesday.

“I didn’t mean to come to your town, walking around causing trouble. That’s not my intention.”

The court heard that there was no violence in the “garden variety shoplifting” incidents and that the most aggravating factor was that the liquor store theft occurred within 90 days of his last sentencing.

He had been previously jailed for one day and sentenced to probation for lifting two pieces of art, worth a combined $37,000, from the Vancouver Fine Art Gallery in December 2022.

Boivin has 131 previous convictions on his record dating back to 1991 in Quebec, mostly dealing with property crime and breach of release orders.

At his sentencing hearing in Vancouver Community Court, Boivin’s lawyer told the court he has a case management team, is receiving treatment for substance use and mental health issues, is currently prescribed safe supply hydromorphone, and that his recent thefts were of lower value than the stolen art.

Judge Patrick Doherty acknowledged that Boivin appears to be a “very nice person,” but that given his social supports and safe supply “I don’t understand his offending.”

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Boivin told the court he has been accessing safe supply for about two months, and that the string of thefts took place prior to that.

He added that he “was hurting” when he committed the liquor store theft, and that that he was “ready to stay clean” and has “turned my life around.”

That response appeared to draw frustration from Doherty, who responded “but you haven’t turned it around.”

“I don’t see these as small little things. Maybe if they were your first offences. I told you I took a chance on you,” he said, adding he could have sentenced Boivin to a year in jail on his previous conviction — before handing down a suspended sentence.

“If you breach it I want the prosecutor to bring it back and I could resentence,” the judge said.

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“I’m very serious. I’m going to hammer you if you breach …. if you succeed I’ll be so proud of you.”

Under the terms of the sentence, Boivin will remain on probation for 12 months, and has been banned from entering London Drugs, Holt Renfrew, Home Depot or BC Liquor Stores.

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The post No jail time for B.C. shoplifter busted days after release from $37K art theft | Globalnews.ca appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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