PICTOU – A New Glasgow man who stole a snow blower from a Westville home this winter has been told to spend the next three months confined to his home.
Steven Paul Spears, 29, was sentenced in Pictou provincial court Monday to two 90-day conditional sentence orders after pleading guilty to a charge of theft involving the snow blower and prowling at night. The prowling at night sentence will run concurrently with the theft sentencing so Spears will spend a total 90 days on house arrest.
Spears was arrested after a Westville resident reported a snow blower had been stolen from his yard on Feb. 22. The homeowner said when he went to bed around 11 p.m. the snow blower was on his property, but it was missing in the morning.
Officers received a tip from an unidentified woman saying she heard Spears bragging about stealing a snow blower overnight and it was parked in the driveway of his home with a sheet covering it.
Police located the snow blower and knocked on some neighbourhood doors in hopes of locating Spears. Officers also spoke with Spears’s sister who said her brother admitted to stealing the snow blower.
“She told her brother not to be stealing anything else to which he replied, ‘I will stop after I get a 4 wheeler,’” said Crown attorney Bill Gorman.
The snow blower was returned to the homeowner in good condition, but Gorman said Spears’s words to his sister are disturbing.
“The whole notion of helping yourself and not working towards purchasing something with your own money and buying it yourself is concerning,” he said.
Defence lawyer Stephen Robertson said his client is “very upset with himself” over the entire incident because he knows this criminal record will stay with him for the rest of his life.
This is his first adult charge. Robertson asked the court to take into consideration that his client was on medication at the time of the theft which affected his sleeping patterns. He said Spears is now on new medication and has a new place to live.
“He understands what he did was wrong and he doesn’t want to come back here,” said Robertson.
Judge Del Atwood said it would require some effort for Spears and his co-accused to steal a snow blower because it is a large piece of equipment. He also pointed out that the victim had every right to think that when he woke up in the morning that his belongings would still be in his yard.
“A lot of people seem to believe for whatever reason, they are free to lift it and take it away,” he said.
Atwood told Spears that there are simple rules of the law to follow if he wants to stay out of the courtroom for the rest of his life.
“Respect others, respect property, don’t do drugs and pay your taxes,” he said. “Do that and you will stay out of trouble.”
Although the Crown and defence agreed a fine for the theft would be an adequate sentence, Atwood said he felt a period of custody was warranted for the crime and sentenced Spears to a period of house arrest.
He also warned Spears before he left that courtroom that if he breaks any of the conditions of his conditional sentence order imposed by the court, he could find himself serving the rest of it behind bars.