October 31st, 2020

Father, son suspected in substation break-in could have charges resolved


By Shurtz, Delon on March 7, 2020.

Delon Shurtz

Lethbridge Herald

dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A father and son who pleaded not guilty last year to several criminal offences, could resolve their charges without going to trial.

David and Travis Priest, who are accused of breaking into a city electrical substation in 2019, pleaded not guilty in November to charges of shopbreaking and commit mischief, shopbreaking and commit theft, possession of stolen property under $5,000 and possession of ID documents. David Priest also pleaded not guilty to one count of breaching release conditions, and they both elected to be tried by a provincial court judge.

The pair was expected to set a trial date shortly afterward, but their lawyers simply adjourned their case during subsequent court hearings.

On Friday in Lethbridge provincial court, their matters were once again adjourned, but Lethbridge lawyer Jeremy DeBow pointed out defence received a resolution proposal from the Crown, and he needs time to discuss it with the Crown prosecutor. Both men are back in court Monday.

On April 28, 2019, two men broke into an electrical substation in the 3500 block of 25 Street West by cutting the lock on a gate, police reported shortly after the incident. 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 totalled $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 a separate charge of theft under $5,000. Travis Priest faces separate charges of theft under $5,000, breach of release conditions and drug possession. The accused have not offered pleas in relation to their separate charges.

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