June 22nd, 2024

Break-and-enter lands woman five months in jail

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on February 18, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 28-year-old woman who tossed a brick through a store window will have to spend a few months behind bars.

Billie-Jean Long Time Squirrel pleaded guilty Friday in Lethbridge provincial court to one count of break and enter, and was sentenced to five months in jail.

Court was told that at about 3:49 a.m. on June 9 of last year Long Time Squirrel threw a red cinder block into the front window of a home decor store on 2 Avenue South. The break-in set off an alarm, and shortly after Long Time Squirrel had hauled out bags of stolen items, police arrived and found her and another individual behind the building.

Crown prosecutor Clayton Giles pointed out that Long Time Squirrel has a criminal record with convictions for petty theft and breaches, as well as a break-in to a commercial business, for which she was sentenced to 60 days in jail. He acknowledged the offender’s difficult and challenging life, but suggested she needs to be dissuaded from continuing her criminal activity.

“This is the kind of activity that needs to come to a halt,” Giles said, noting that while Long Time Squirrel didn’t get away with any stolen items, she likely caused thousands of dollars in damage to the window.

Giles, who, along with defence counsel recommended the five-month sentence, said he hopes the jail time “will drive the point home.”

“We were very hopeful that that original 60-day sentence would have sent that message, but clearly it did not, so we have to have a far more elevated response.”

Defence said Long Time Squirrel was, at the time of the break-in, trying to get clothing because she was living on the street and didn’t have any money. Most of the items Long Time Squirrel stole from the store were clothes and were recovered.

Court was told she required foster care when she was only six years old, and by the time she was 17 and homeless, she was struggling with addictions to fentanyl and alcohol.

Judge Gregory Maxell accepted the joint submission for a jail term, and noted it’s a serious consequence of Long Time Squirrel’s actions.

“It’s not an insignificant penalty, but it’s also not an insignificant crime, with real victims,” he said.

Follow @DShurtzHerald on Twitter

Share this story:

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments