By Shurtz, Delon on April 30, 2020.
A Calgary man who stole $275,000 worth of tires and rims from car dealerships across the province was motivated by greed and the thrill of the crime, a Crown prosecutor told a judge this week in Lethbridge provincial court.
Lethbridge Crown prosecutor Ian Elford said Patrick Francois Rouillard doesn’t have a criminal record, isn’t addicted to drugs and doesn’t appear to have any underlying issues to otherwise explain why he committed a series of break-ins and thefts between March 2016 and October 2018.
“The motive here is the thrill and personal gain,” Elford said Tuesday during Rouillard’s sentencing hearing.
Elford is recommending Rouillard be sentenced to three years in prison to teach him and others that “crime doesn’t pay.” However, Lethbridge lawyer Vincent Guinan believes his client should go to jail for four to six months then be on probation for up to three years.
Guinan said three years in a federal prison is too harsh for someone without a criminal record, and he reminded the judge that Rouillard pleaded guilty to his charges, accepts full responsibility for his crimes, and has done “everything in his power” to mitigate the impact of his actions.
“He’s thrown himself at the mercy of the court,” Guinan said.
Rouillard pleaded guilty Jan. 13 to several counts of shopbreaking, theft over $5,000 and trafficking in stolen property. But while he admitted to crimes in Lethbridge, Taber, Calgary, Leduc and Wetaskiwin, his sentencing hearing was adjourned to allow time for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.
Court was told in January the offences to which Rouillard pleaded guilty began March 8, 2016 when, in a rented U-Haul truck, he stole tires and rims from 10 new vehicles parked at Murray Chevrolet Cadillac in Lethbridge. He also cut the locks on two large sea containers and stole sets of new tires and new and used rims. The value of the stolen items was nearly $60,000.
On May 9 Rouillard cut the lock to a fenced compound at Rocky Mountain Equipment in Lethbridge and stole six pallets of tires and rims worth about $4,500. Then two months later, on July 20, using a U-Haul truck rented in Red Deer, Rouillard cut the fence around the fleet lot of Schwab Pontiac Buick in Leduc and stole nearly $60,000 worth of tires and rims from 13 vehicles. Two days later he was paid $9,700 from an individual for an unknown quantity of stolen property.
Rouillard returned to Lethbridge in October and stole more tires and rims, then on Jan. 19, 2018, he rented a U-Haul trailer in Calgary, drove to Taber and stole $23,000 worth of tires and rims from seven new pickup trucks parked at Legacy Dodge. He also stole $70,000 worth of tires and rims from a dealership in Wetaskiwin in June before returning to Calgary, where police watched him cut a hole in a fence around the compound belonging to Varsity Chrysler.
Rouillard sold stolen tires and rims through his Kijiji account “Tire Guy,” and sold items directly to automotive dealers.
He was finally arrested July 31, 2019 at Canadian Forces Base Suffield northwest of Medicine Hat.
Rouillard, who appeared in court Tuesday by closed-circuit TV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, apologized and asked the judge for a second chance to change his life.
“I’d like to start by saying I’m sorry for what I did; I know what I did was wrong,” Rouillard told Judge Jerry LeGrandeur.
He said the 10 years he spent in the army taught him to own up to his actions, accept the consequences “like a man,” hopefully learn something then get on with life.
LeGrandeur is expected to sentence Rouillard May 8.
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