July 15th, 2024

No more time in jail for man who pleads guilty to theft charges

By Lethbridge Herald on July 5, 2022.

Delon Shurtz – LETHBRIDGE HERALD – dshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge man who was caught stealing items from stores on numerous occasions earlier this year won’t have to spend any more time in custody, despite receiving a jail sentence Tuesday.

Stephen Rene Geworsky was sentenced in Lethbridge provincial court to five months in jail after pleading guilty to four charges of theft under $5,000, and one count of shopbreaking and commit theft. However, because Geworsky had already spent the equivalent of more than five months in remand custody waiting to resolve the charges, his sentence was deemed served and he was released.

Geworsky’s charges stem from several incidents in February and March of this year, the first occurring on Feb. 15 when Geworsky entered a convenience store on the northside, selected about $75 worth of items and left without paying. Geworsky told the clerk that he didn’t have any money but the business could charge his federal parole officer who would pay.

As police proceeded to Geworsky’s residence, they saw him walking nearby with a bag, and he admitted stealing the items from the store and told them “God said it was OK.”

When police told him to return the product, he said he would need to ask God, and after a few moments of silence he agreed to return the stolen items.

A few days later, on Feb. 20, Geworsky entered a liquor store on 9 Avenue South and stole a bottle of pop and a bottle of liquor, then began to leave the store. The clerk tried to stop Geworsky but he left, then dropped the bottles on the ground outside. The clerk grabbed the bottles and returned to the store, and Geworsky asked the clerk if he was looking for a fight, then  punched the window and left.

Police, with the help of a police service dog, tracked Geworsky to a nearby residence and he was arrested.

Later the same day, after he had been released, Geworsky walked into another store and stole sandwiches and milk. The clerk described Geworsky to police and showed them video surveillance footage identifying the thief.

The following month Geworsky walked into London Drugs on the northside and was seen by a loss prevention officer selecting some beef jerky and chocolate bars, placing them in a bag, then walking toward the doors to leave. The loss prevention officer asked for the items, but Geworsky denied having anything and continued to leave the store.

“The accused told (the employee), if you touch me I’ll drop you,” the Crown prosecutor told court.

The loss prevention officer followed Geworsky from the store, who then began “shadow boxing” and punching the air toward the employee and striking him once on the arm. A second employee arrived to help, and Geworsky shadow boxed in his direction, as well, then threw the stolen items into a garbage can and left. Police found him shortly afterward.

Less than a week later, at about 1:20 a.m. on March 11, a motion alarm was triggered at a Subway restaurant on Stafford Drive South, and police were alerted by the restaurant’s security company that someone was inside the business. Police arrived and took positions outside the store while the owner relayed information to them about the suspect who he was watching through surveillance cameras. Police called out to Geworsky, and he surrendered and was arrested.

Court was told Geworsky caused about $1,240 in damages to a window, a bathroom door and a latch securing the food area. He also ate about $10 worth of food.

Calgary lawyer Ademola Emiloju said his client was suffering from addiction and mental health issues at the time of the offences, but has been doing better in custody where he had access to medication.

“He is hoping that he can get in touch with the right people to continue his medication upon his release,” Emiloju said.

Geworsky faces additional charges of mischief and performing an indecent act in public. He was previously granted bail on those charges and is preparing to stand trial.

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