June 21st, 2024

Mail theft posts 90-day sentence

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on November 15, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A Lethbridge woman will, for the next several months, spend her weekends in jail for breaking into mailboxes earlier this year.

Erzsebet Catharine Pesti, 21, pleaded guilty Friday in Lethbridge provincial court to one charge of break and enter to commit theft, and was handed a 90-day intermittent sentence.

Four times between January and May of this year Pesti and another individual entered the vestibule of a westside apartment building, and were caught on video surveillance as Pesti “jimmied” open the mailboxes and stole the contents.

“On all four occasions she took a bunch of documents…likely hopeful she could then, somehow, either get a debit card or credit card or something along the lines of that,” Crown Prosecutor Clayton Giles told court.

Giles said the offence is particularly serious because of the sensitive information often sent through the mail.

“Identity documents often come in the mail. We trust the mail, the banks trust the mail, the Canada Revenue Agency trusts the mail. Everybody sends us documents, that have a great deal of personal information on them, through the mail.”

Giles said the mailboxes are relatively vulnerable and likely a strong temptation by anyone who chooses to “get by” in an unlawful way.

Lethbridge lawyer Darcy Shurtz explained Pesti, who has struggled with drug abuse for about two years, has been in a women’s recovery program since August 30 and, according to a letter from program personnel, is “making excellent progress” in her recovery.

“So she’s doing quite well, it sounds like, in excelling in her program to overcome some of the addictions and struggles she’s had in the past,” Shurtz said.

Judge Erin Olsen agreed to the joint submission for a 90-day intermittent sentence, and placed Pesti on probation for six months, during which she must, among other things, take counselling for substance abuse.

The Lethbridge Police Service noted in a new release following Pesti’s arrest in July that incidences of mail theft in Lethbridge are increasing, and there were 19 thefts from community mailboxes between May and July 6 of this year. The hardest hit subdivisions have been Uplands on the northside and Varsity Village on the westside.

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