By Shurtz, Delon on February 28, 2020.
A man who drove the getaway vehicle following last summer’s theft of a valuable ammonite fossil has avoided jail, but not custody.
Bryan David Fyfe was handed a one-year conditional sentence Thursday after he pleaded guilty in Lethbridge provincial court to several charges, including theft over $5,000.
The conditional sentence is considered a custodial term, but allows Fyfe to serve his time in the community rather than jail. During the first six months of his sentence he will be under house arrest, followed by six months of curfew. He will then be on probation for one year, during which he must obey several conditions, including he continue taking treatment and counselling for substance abuse.
Court was told a man was seen stealing the ammonite fossil from a mine south of Lethbridge on July 16 of last year. Mine employes saw the man put the $7,000 fossil in a bag and then run to a waiting vehicle. Photos taken by the employees clearly showed Fyfe was the driver, Crown prosecutor Brad Stephenson said.
The suspects got away, but were eventually captured, despite Fyfe’s attempt to disguise his truck by painting it.
Co-accused Logan Heavy Shields is charged with theft over $5,000 and unlawful entry on land. His matter was in court Thursday as well, but simply adjourned. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in January and was expected to stand trial, but Thursday his lawyer said the case is “potentially resolvable” without a trial.
Fyfe also pleaded guilty to unrelated charges of shopbreaking, mischief causing damage, failure to attend court and breaching release conditions.
Fyfe was in possession of a folding knife, in contravention of a recognizance that he not possess any weapons, and he was caught Oct. 28 of last year after breaking into a storage compound.
A security officer noticed a hole had been cut in the fence around the compound and saw footprints in the fresh snow. Police were called and Fyfe and another man were caught inside.
Lethbridge lawyer Darcy Shurtz pointed out his client had taken several steps to change his life since he committed the offences, and is enrolled in treatment programs to help him recover from his addictions. He said Fyfe, who has the support of his family, volunteers at the Soup Kitchen, and will soon be more than a year sober.
“He’s doing quite well,” Shurtz said. “He looks a lot better.”
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