June 18th, 2024

Rifle theft and sale lands man in federal prison


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on February 17, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

The word on the street is, if you need a weapon or firearm, just drive by the city’s emergency shelter on the northside and ask for one.

That’s how Dillon Freed Knife sold a semi-automatic rifle he had stolen from a residential garage nearly a year ago.

At about 5:15 a.m. on April 16, 2022, Knife, 33, broke into a detached garage and stole a gun case, which contained the rifle, as well as several other items, including a bicycle. The owner called police later in the morning to report the break-in, and, by watching a neighbour’s video security footage, they saw a man enter the garage then make multiple trips between the garage and alley while carrying items he had stolen.

Police obtained the thief’s fingerprints from inside the garage, and footwear impressions from outside the building, and subsequently went to the Alpha House shelter where a supervisor identified Knife, aka Dillon Chief Body, on the video image. He also told police Knife had been at the shelter earlier in the morning and was wearing similar clothing.

On April 17 a police officer who was responding to an unrelated incident at a convenience store recognized Knife, even though the suspect attempted to hide his face. The officer arrested Knife, who admitted he had taken a gun case from the garage, and said even though he never opened it, he believed it contained a gun.

When an unknown man drove by the shelter looking to buy a weapon, Knife sold him the rifle for $150. At the time of the offence Knife was bound by a previous release order not to possess a firearm or other weapons.

“Mr. Knife sold this weapon to an individual that he did not know, did not know anything about…and had no idea what he was going to be using it for,” Crown Prosecutor Michael Fox said Thursday during Knife’s sentencing hearing in Lethbridge provincial court.

Fox noted that “in Lethbridge, if you are someone who is looking to acquire a weapon or firearm by illegal means, there is a thought or a notion that you simply need to drive by the shelter and talk to individuals who live there, as a means of acquiring a weapon or firearms through illegal means.”

Knife pleaded guilty to charges of break and enter and commit an offence, unauthorized transfer of a weapon, and possession of a prohibited weapon, and was sentenced to two years and 14 days in a federal prison.

Lethbridge lawyer Scott Hadford told court his client has “struggled immensely” with drug addiction and homelessness, and hasn’t had any contact with members of his family for several years. He asked the judge for his recommendation that Knife serve his sentence at a federal indigenous healing lodge, which may bring Knife some healing and reconnect him with his community, religion, spirituality and culture.

“Mr. Knife is incredibly sorry for what he’s done,” Hadford added.

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