By Delon Shurtz on January 9, 2021.
A Lethbridge man charged in relation to a break-in at a city electrical substation nearly two years ago may not stand trial, after all.
Travis Roy Priest was expected to set a trial date this year, but during a brief hearing Friday in Lethbridge provincial court, the matter was instead adjourned to Jan. 27 to resolve the charges.
Priest is charged with shopbreaking to commit theft, shopbreaking to commit mischief, possession of stolen property under $5,000 and possession of ID documents. 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 reported 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 and 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, 2019. The Crown withdrew the charges against David on March 20 of last year after court was told the accused had died.
Travis also faces several other charges, including drug possession and break and enter, which relate to a break-in at Honker’s Pub and Eatery Nov. 29, 2020. Those charges may also be resolved later this month, court was told.