PICTOU – A Pictou County teenager who broke into a Thorburn home this spring and stole money has been sent to jail for eight months.
The teenager, who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was sentenced in Pictou Provincial Court Wednesday to the jail term followed by an additional four months to be served in the community.
The break-and-enter charge with intent to commit the indictable offence of theft was laid following an incident at a Thorburn home on March 22.
Crown Attorney Bill Gorman said when the homeowner returned home that evening, she noticed a screen door had been opened and money was taken from her purse located in the house.
She called RCMP and named the youth as one of the people she suspected broke into the home.
Police located the teen the next day and he denied the allegations, saying he was with friends playing video games all night. Three days after the break-in, RCMP spoke with one of his friends who said the youth and another male left his home once around midnight and returned about a half-hour later saying they were checking cars. They left again a short while later and returned with $540 with which they purchased a bong and some drugs.
Police came into contact with the teen and another youth again on May 7 when they received a call of shoplifting from the Atlantic Superstore. They had about $30 worth of merchandise in their possession from the grocery store, but when they told officers to look in their backpacks more stolen goods from various other stores were discovered.
Provincial Court Judge Del Atwood said custody should be a last resort for young people who break the law, but in this instance he saw no other choice than to send the teen to jail.
He said the youth committed a serious offence of breaking into a home and breaching the trust of someone he knew, stealing a substantial amount of money from her and causing the victim great stress. Atwood added the break-and-enter appeared pre-meditated because he left the home with a screwdriver used to open the patio screen door.
Atwood said a victim impact statement clearly shows how shaken the homeowner was by the offence and it continues to affect her today.
“I feel much more than money was taken from me,” the victim said in her statement. “More lives than mine have been impacted.”
The judge said that the youth’s pre-sentence report was not optimistic in part because he didn’t respond to parental authority or discipline and that he put little effort in this schooling. He said the report also indicates he has little insight into his crime and little empathy for the victim.
Following his time in custody, the teen will serve 12 months’ probation during which time he must adhere to the conditions of attending school and undergoing counselling for drugs and alcohol abuse.