October 25th, 2020

Father, son plead not guilty to charges of shopbreaking, theft

By Shurtz, Delon on November 23, 2019.

Delon Shurtz

Lethbridge Herald


A father and son accused of breaking into a city electrical substation last spring have pleaded not guilty to their charges and are expected to schedule a trial during their next court appearance in December.

David Bradley Priest and his son, Travis Roy Priest, pleaded not guilty Friday in Lethbridge provincial court to charges of shopbreaking and commit mischief, shopbreaking and commit theft, possession of stolen property under $5,000, and possession of ID documents. The two accused, who appeared in court in person with their lawyers, also elected to be tried by a provincial court judge.

On April 28 two men broke into an electrical substation in the 3500 block of 25 Street West by cutting the lock on a gate. They damaged the lock on the entry door, and once inside damaged a significant amount of equipment to get at the copper wire inside.

Spools of copper wire and various pieces of equipment, including a laser level, network connector and battery charge pack, were stolen, and a transformer worth $250,000 and a grounding cart unit worth $25,000 were also damaged. Damages total $300,000, while the stolen copper and equipment are worth $6,500.

The following day police responded to a report of suspicious activity at a home in the 2700 block of 7 Avenue North after people were seen transferring copper wire from a vehicle into a garage. Police later searched the property and recovered stolen property, including some items from the substation.

In addition to the offences for which the Priests are co-accused, David Priest faces separate charges of theft under $5,000 and breach of release condition. Travis Priest also faces separate charges of theft under $5,000, breach of release conditions and drug possession.

The accused did not offer pleas in relation to the separate charges, but they may be addressed Dec. 13 when the pair returns to court to set a trial date on the other matters.

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