PICTOU – A 33-year-old Pictou man who stole petty items from boats docked at a local marina this past summer has been sentenced to two years plus a day in federal prison.
Paul Ivan Jeans Jr. lowered his head into his hands as Pictou Provincial Court Judge Del Atwood announced that federal jail was warranted because Jeans Jr. put the public at risk by tampering with these boats.
“Nova Scotians have sought recreation and livehood on the water for centuries and one thing learned is that it is dangerous to tamper with vessels,” he said. “A mariner stranded at sea can’t pull over and call for roadside assistance.”
He said people who own boats check their vessels and equipment regularly to ensure they are safe for travel, but if someone comes aboard the boat and tampers with its belongings, the owner has no idea what has been touched or possibly damaged.
“The potential risk of danger to mariners in these circumstances must not be taken lightly,” Atwood said. “Break-ins to vessels is a real public safety concern.”
Jeans Jr. pleaded guilty to 11 break-and-enter charges related to a rash of thefts from boats at the Pictou Marina in early September. Eleven boats were broken into at the marina and items taken ranged from bags of potato chips to flashlights to binoculars and pocket lighters.
He also breached two court orders by texting, calling and Facebooking his former girlfriend after being ordered to have no contact with her.
Jeans Jr. pleaded with Atwood several times to consider sentencing him to house arrest for his crimes because it was too stressful being in jail where people threatened him.
He made one last plea for a conditional sentence with house arrest Thursday, saying he would abide by all of the conditions so that he would never have to return to jail again.
“I was hoping to have house arrest,” he said. “ I can’t do (jail) again. It scares me to the point that I am not sleeping, I am not eating and I cover myself with a blanket with my eyes on the door. If I do get house arrest today, I am not going to do anything to jeopardize my freedom at all.”
Atwood recognized Jeans Jr.’s stressful living conditions since he has been on remand from Oct. 26 and credited him with more than one-for-one time served during the sentencing.
He said the fact that Jeans Jr. has been alcohol free for three years and never used drugs were positive factors in addition to the accused recognizing that the crimes he committed were done in “pure stupidity.”
However, Atwood said the issue of public safety cannot be overlooked and by breaking into these vessels, he could have potentially harmed the lives of many people.
Jeans Jr. was sentenced to two months consecutive for each of the 11 break-and-enter charges as well as two months for his breach of a court order. He received two months for the second breach charge as well, but it will run concurrent to the other charges and serve as credit for time served in remand.