June 16th, 2024

Thefts earn jail sentence


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on November 16, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 34-year-old Lethbridge man caught stealing from several city businesses, including a particularly brazen theft of computers, will spend several weekends in jail.

Mitchell Keith Cranley was sentenced Monday in Lethbridge provincial court after he pleaded guilty to four charges of theft under $5,000 and three charges of breaching release conditions.

The first of Cranley’s offences occurred on March 12 of this year when he stole an $81 personal massager from the Sexxxy Kitty adult novelty store on 13 Street North. He was arrested after police reviewed video surveillance footage which caught him in the act of stealing the item then leaving without paying.

Later the same month Cranley walked into the Costco wholesale store, grabbed three HP laptop computers and walked out. Employees attempted to stop him but he simply told them to get out of his way and left. Although he was later charged, the computers were never recovered.

“He does it in the middle of the day and just tells these guys to get out of his way,” Crown Prosecutor Clayton Giles said. “He doesn’t care that other people are trying to stop him.”

On June 1 Cranley managed to steal a $650 chainsaw from Peavey Mart on the southside. He removed the security device attached to the saw, carried the saw into the garden centre, then threw it over the chainlink fence. He walked out of the store, picked up the chainsaw, and left.

Four months later Cranley was caught stealing again, this time electricity from a residence. At about 8 a.m. on Sept. 30 a woman left her home and noticed a long, yellow power cord plugged into her house and extending over her fence. She followed the cord to the other end and discovered it went into the driver’s side door of a motor vehicle that had been parked on the street for several months. She had also previously seen a man sleeping in the car.

Police attended and confirmed Cranley had been living in his car and stealing power from the woman’s house. He was also on release conditions at the time requiring him to reside at a specific residence while under house arrest, and not to have any contact with a specific individual who was also in the car.

Cranley had also been caught breaching release conditions last May when he was not living in a specific residence and not abiding by a curfew 24 hours a day.

Lethbridge lawyer Marcus Mueller requested an intermittent sentence, which would allow Cranley to work for his brother as a drywaller and support his young family. Mueller noted his client has had a difficult life, and while Cranley and his mother are now close, she had been physically abusive, “bad enough to put him in the hospital a few times.”

Mueller pointed out Cranley’s recent criminal offences are the result of his drug addiction to fentanyl and cocaine, but he is doing better.

“He’s done, by my standards at least, a pretty marvelous job of trying to get himself out of it.”

“I don’t have much for excuses,” Cranley told the judge. “I really am sorry for what I did. Honestly, I was in a really bad spot, kind of outta my mind.”

Cranley said he has since received counselling, stopped using drugs and hopes to have a “normal” life.

“I do want a chance to get back on track and take care of my kids and especially my wife. I hope you’ll grant me the opportunity to do that.”

Cranley was sentenced to 105 days in jail, but credited for the equivalent of 72 days he already spent in remand custody, leaving him with 33 days to serve on weekends.

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