By Delon Shurtz on December 8, 2020.
A Lethbridge man getting ready to stand trial on charges relating to a break-in at a city electrical substation more than a year ago, was back in court Monday on new charges.
Travis Roy Priest is charged with break and enter and drug possession. His lawyer appeared for him in Lethbridge provincial court, but simply adjourned the matter to Friday.
On Nov. 29 a small truck was driven through the front window of Honkers Pub and Eatery on the northside. Two men then stole an ATM from inside the business and drove away.
The following Thursday Lethbridge police officers searched a residence in the 2700 block of 7 Avenue North, and found evidence relating to the Honkers break-in.
Travis Robert Taylor, 30, of Lethbridge, was also arrested, and is charged with break and enter, breach of undertaking and mischief to property.
Priest also faces charges of shopbreaking to commit theft, shopbreaking to commit mischief, possession of stolen property under $5,000 and possession of ID documents relating to offences more than a year ago.
The charges stem from an incident April 28, 2019, when two men broke into an electrical substation in the 3500 block of 25 Street West by cutting the lock on a gate. Police said the suspects 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 0and a grounding cart unit worth $25,000 were 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.
Priest, as well as his father, David Bradley Priest, pleaded not guilty to the shared charges on Nov. 22 last year. The Crown withdrew the charges against David on March 20 after court was told the accused had died.
Travis Priest also faces charges of drug possession and theft under $5,000, which are unrelated to the substation break-in.
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