By Delon Shurtz on May 18, 2021.
Travis Robert Taylor was having trouble seeing as he backed a small pickup truck in front of Honkers Pub and Eatery at about 6 a.m. Nov. 29 of last year.
He pulled off the balaclava hiding his face, but in that instant a security camera recorded him as he and another man drove through the front door and windows of the restaurant. The two culprits had spray painted video cameras then loaded up the ATM and fled. The machine, which had been cut open, was found in a field a few days later.
Although both suspects were disguised with masks, Taylor was identified when he pulled off his mask momentarily so he could drive into the business.
“There was a brief moment when he was captured on video,” Crown Prosecutor Clayton Giles said Monday in Lethbridge provincial court, where Taylor pleaded guilty to one count of shopbreaking to commit theft.
Taylor was sentenced to one year in jail, but given credit for time he spent in custody since his arrest, leaving him with 117 days to serve. He was also ordered to make restitution to the pub’s owner of nearly $10,000.Â
Lethbridge lawyer Scott Hadford agreed with the sentence, but noted despite the brief glimpse of his client’s face by video surveillance, proper identification still would have been an issue had the matter gone to trial. He added, however, Taylor – who initially pleaded not guilty to shopbreaking, mischief and failure to comply with an undertaking – wanted to resolve the matter instead of stand trial.
Giles admitted that the one-year jail term is on the lower range of sentences for shopbreaking, and suggested Taylor could have received a prison term if found guilty after a trial. But the joint submission for a lesser sentence was recommended given Taylor’s guilty plea and saving the court the expense and time – three days – to run a trial, especially during a pandemic.
Hadford said Taylor had a good job and lifestyle until he allowed his addiction to methamphetamine to take over his life and cloud his judgment. Hadford added that since Taylor’s time in custody and his forced abstinence, he is doing much better and is almost unrecognizable from the person who committed the offences.
“He is clearly a different person when he is doing meth.”
Taylor apologized to the judge and said he was not in his “right mind” when he was taking the drug. He said he will continue taking treatment after he is released from jail, get a job and return to his wife and children in Ontario.
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