By Shurtz, Delon on September 10, 2020.
A former southern Alberta man caught last year with a stolen high end SUV has been handed a short custodial sentence, but he won’t have to spend any time in jail.
Jamie Stewart Vanrootselaar pleaded guilty Wednesday in Lethbridge provincial court to one count of possession of stolen property for the purpose of trafficking, and was sentenced to three months house arrest followed by three months curfew.
Both the Crown and defence recommended the conditional sentence, as well as an order requiring Vanrootselaar pay $12,259 restitution to the car owner’s insurance company.
Reading from an agreed statement of facts, Crown Prosecutor Sheena Campbell told court an off-duty police officer had arrived at his father-in-law’s rural property on June 16, 2019 to sharpen his lawn mower blades. The officer saw under a tarp inside the shop, a blue Porsche Cayenne S, the same Porsche he had seen the previous two weeks parked beside Vanrootselaar’s residence.
Vanrootselaar, the Crown noted, is the officer’s brother-in-law.
All four doors of the car had been cut off and were lined up against a wall, and the vehicle’s identification number near the driver’s door had been ground off with an angle grinder, which was sitting on a workbench beside the vehicle.
The officer took a picture of the VIN under the windshield and sent it to a co-worker in traffic services, who reported the Porsche had been stolen from Calgary. The constable contacted the Fort Macleod RCMP, and while he waited on the property Vanrootselaar arrived in his own vehicle.
When the officer suggested they talk, Vanrootselaar said, “Well, it looks like I’m going to jail.”
“The accused then asked Const. Olive to look away so he could move the vehicle off the property,” Campbell said.
Campbell said Vanrootselaar explained he needed money, which is why he was “in the game,” and he knew that Const. Olive would eventually catch him.
Vanrootselaar left the property before officers arrived, but he later turned himself in to Claresholm police, where, after being read his rights and speaking to a lawyer, he admitted in a statement to police that he knew the vehicle was stolen, but decided to cut it up and sell the parts.
“I would just like to say I’m sorry, your honour,” Vanrootselaar told the judge. “It was a horrible choice.”
Following his custodial sentence, Vanrootselaar will be on probation for 18 months, during which he must take counselling for substance abuse and life skills. He is also prohibited from being in a motor vehicle without the registered owner, except while he is working.
Lethbridge lawyer Bjoern Wolkmann said his client has a new job working on a cattle ranch near Cranbrook, which will require him to drive. Wolkmann also pointed out Vanrootselaar will live with his boss while he is on probation.
Vanrootselaar also pleaded guilty to one count of failing to appear in court. He was sentenced to one day in custody, which was satisfied by his court appearance Wednesday.
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