June 22nd, 2024

Man gets jail for shopbreaking


By Lethbridge Herald on February 15, 2023.

Delon Shurtz

Lethbridge Herald

A Lethbridge man who broke into a city business two years ago couldn’t have made it much easier for police to track him down.

All they had to do was follow his tracks in the snow, which led them directly to a northside residence.

Just before 3 a.m. on Feb. 27, 2021, Randy Thomas Colbeck broke into Smith’s Audio on 13 Street North. A security company contacted police to report numerous alarms from the business, and when police arrived they saw in the alley tracks in the snow leading up to an open door, and tracks leading away from the door.

A police service dog searched the property, then police followed the tracks to a residence where they found five people, one of whom was Colbeck, who was subsequently arrested and charged with breaking into the business.

“Video evidence showed the accused walking up to the door,” Crown Prosecutor Kristi Adams said Tuesday in Lethbridge provincial court, where Colbeck pleaded guilty to one count of shopbreaking and commit mischief.

“He appears to be messing with the door, trying to cut the alarm; enters the door and approximately 40 seconds later is seen sprinting out of the door once the alarm goes off.”

Adams said the alarm box and wiring near the rear door had been damaged and appeared to be cut with a knife.

Colbeck also pleaded guilty to a charge of shopbreaking and commit theft in relation to a break-in at a northside storage facility in August, 2021.

Police received a report from a man who said the lock on his storage unit had been changed and items were missing. Two neighbouring units had identical locks on them, as well, Adams noted.

Court was told Colbeck and another individual entered the facility and were caught on video going into three units and taking a number of items. When questioned later by police they admitted they were the culprits.

Colbeck, who has a criminal record with convictions for making and using counterfeit money, was sentenced to three months in jail, but given credit for 23 days spent in remand custody, leaving him with 67 days to serve.

Lethbridge lawyer Darcy Shurtz explained the 33-year-old man was in a serious car accident early in 2021 and suffered a brain injury. The medications he was prescribed led him to become addicted to fentanyl, which led him to commit the offences.

The Crown and defence had considered recommending the judge hand Colbeck a conditional sentence, which would keep him out of jail and allow him to serve his sentence in the community. However, Shurtz pointed out his client, because of his cognitive challenges, would likely be unable to remember and abide by conditions placed upon him, which could lead to his arrest and perhaps an even longer sentence.

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