June 18th, 2024

Multiple property crimes net perpetrator 75 days

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on February 4, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A former southern Alberta man who was set to stand trial on charges of break and enter, using an imitation firearm to commit an offence, and two counts of theft, instead pleaded guilty Friday in Lethbridge provincial court to one count of possession of stolen property under $5,000 and was sentenced to two and a half months in jail.

Gino Policarpo, 37, was caught with an air rifle that had been stolen during a break-in to a rural property more than a year ago.

On Nov. 17, 2021 a woman reported to Taber RCMP that someone had broken into her property and stole several items, including an air rifle. Later in the day witnesses confirmed Policarpo had the gun, and police recovered it several days later in Calgary.

Calgary lawyer Jeanine Zahara pointed out that at the time of the offence Policarpo “was living a very different life than he is currently living today.”

She said her client, who has a criminal record, was in and out of custody during most of 2021, resulting from charges out of a few regions, including Taber, and was suffering from mental health issues and a significant addiction to methamphetamine.

“When he was released from custody in the summer of last year, he was in a psychosis and he jumped off the roof of a building,” Zahara said.

He fell more than 10 metres, shattered both of his feet and was in the hospital for four months. He subsequently moved to B.C. where he has been living with his grandmother, and has been clean, sober and off drugs ever since.

“He even limits the intake of any painkillers he allows himself to have, knowing that opioids are problematic for him.”

Zahara noted that Policarpo has a few other charges in Calgary, which will be resolved next week, then he’ll be free to move back to B.C. with all his criminal matters behind him.

“So he has really turned things around,” Zahara said. “He does have the support of his family, and I don’t expect for us to see him back before these courts.”

Although sentenced to 75 days in custody, Policarpo was given credit for the equivalent amount of time spent in remand custody, which completes his sentence. He is prohibited, however, from possessing weapons for the rest of his life.

The additional charges on which he was scheduled to stand trial were withdrawn by the Crown.

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