May 25th, 2024

Man accused in multiple break-ins back in court


By Delon Shurtz on October 27, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 32-year-old man for whom an arrest warrant was issued after he failed to show up for his trial in August, was back in court Tuesday.
Matthew James Gajda, who is in custody at the Lethbridge Correctional Centre, is accused of breaking into more than a dozen lockers at two storage facilities in January. He had previously pleaded not guilty to charges of shopbreaking and possession of break-in tools, and was set to stand trial on Aug. 10. When he never showed up, a warrant was issued for his arrest, and Calgary lawyer Robin McIntyre was allowed to withdraw as his counsel after she explained she had lost contact with her client and had been unable to reach him.
McIntyre represented the accused during Tuesday’s hearing in Lethbridge provincial court, where Gajda’s 14 charges of shopbreaking were reduced to two charges to reflect the break-ins to the two storage facilities, instead of each locker.
Gajda and three other individuals were charged in February following a string of break-ins to the storage lockers. The four accused face a total of more than 50 charges.
Lethbridge police, community peace officers and Coaldale RCMP, searched a residence in the 1000-block of 17 Street South, a residence on Eagle Road North and a rural business east of Lethbridge. Police seized items stolen from the lockers, as well as two firearms, a small amount of drugs, and between $15,000 and $20,000 worth of property that had been stolen from rural communities around Lethbridge.
Gajda also faces unrelated charges of mischief causing damage, assault, assault with a weapon, and disguised with intent. Those charges, as well as the charges from the storage locker break-ins, have been adjourned until next month.
The three other accused also face charges in relation to the locker break-ins. Nikki Gajda was charged with 15 offences, including possession of break-in tools and shopbreaking. She is currently at warrant.
Lisa Plato faces 17 charges, including shopbreaking, possession of stolen property, drug possession and identity theft. She is scheduled to attend the Case Management office at the courthouse on Nov. 24. And Michael McDougall is charged with four offences, including possession of stolen property and failure to comply with a release order. He is set to stand trial in December.

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