By Lethbridge Herald on March 3, 2021.
A Lethbridge man waiting to deal with charges relating to a break-in at a city electrical substation in 2019, and a break-in to a city business late last year, has been fined for nearly a dozen unrelated criminal offences.
Travis Roy Priest pleaded guilty in Lethbridge provincial court to single counts of mischief, theft under $5,000, and drug possession, and eight counts of breaching release orders, for which he was fined a total of $1,600.
On April 18, 2019 Priest, 30, was in Fort Macleod and caught on a surveillance camera at a carwash as he climbed onto a garbage can so he could reach the camera. Moments later the camera went black.
On another occasion police caught Priest and his father, both of whom were wearing headlamps, stealing used tires from a city business. When they were searched, police found a small amount of methamphetamine in Priest’s pocket.
Then on various occasions between March and December of last year, Priest failed to comply wth release conditions. On four of those occasions Priest failed to remain in his residence during the hours he was to obey a curfew, and he failed twice to report to police by phone.
Once he was caught in the city’s industrial park after he had been ordered to stay away from the area, and he was caught with a break-in tool contrary to a court order.
Lethbridge lawyer Wade Hlady explained his client is addicted to methamphetamine, and while he was diligently dealing with his court matters before the pandemic hit, he started a downward spiral after COVID struck and after his father died.
Priest, who appeared in court by CCTV from the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, also faces charges in relation to the break-in at the electrical substation in 2019 and a break-in to Honkers Pub and Eatery three months ago.
On Nov. 29 a small truck was driven through the front window the northside pub. Two men then stole an ATM from inside the business and drove away.
A few days later police 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. Both Taylor and Priest return to court on the matter March 17.
Priest is charged with shopbreaking to commit theft, shopbreaking to commit mischief, possession of stolen property under $5,000 and possession of ID documents relating to offences 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 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 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 was released from custody Friday on $1,000 bail and conditions that he reside at a specific address, obey a curfew and abstain from intoxicating substances.
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