April 12th, 2024

Man gets jail for break and enter, vehicle theft


By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on November 8, 2023.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

Pincher Creek RCMP didn’t have much difficulty finding Peter Stephen Many Bears after he had driven onto private property on the east end of town.

Police were patrolling on March 6, 2022 when they noticed tire tracks in the fresh snow heading into the property of Chinook Pipelines. The tracks led down a hill through a fence and into a field, then around a locked gate securing the property.

Police entered the property and saw a man standing near the rear of a truck. When the man saw the police car he attempted to hide behind his truck, then took off running up a hill after the officer exited his vehicle.

“When given the command to stop and that he was under arrest, he stopped, returned to his vehicle and identified himself as Peter Many Bears,” Crown Prosecutor Marshall Gourlay said in Lethbridge court of justice, where Many Bears pleaded guilty to a single count of breaking and entering a place other than a house, with intent to commit an indictable offence.

Police found in the back of Many Bears’ truck, a metal “headache” rack he had removed from another truck nearby, and still in that truck were the tools used to remove the rack. Inside the cab of Many Bear’s truck police found several vehicle batteries and two licence plates.

Many Bears also pleaded guilty to charges of theft of a motor vehicle and drug possession.

Four months after the Pincher Creek break-in, at about 7:30 a.m., a Fort Macleod resident noticed his 2020 SUV was no longer in his driveway. He called police then activated his OnStar GPS security system, and about an hour later told police he had traced his vehicle to a parking lot just off 26 Avenue North in Lethbridge.

A city police officer entered the lot shortly afterward and saw a person getting out of the vehicle before quickly getting back inside. The officer pulled in behind the vehicle then opened the door of the stolen SUV and arrested Many Bears.

“Many Bears stated, without being questioned, ‘I stole the vehicle from Fort Macleod,'” Gourlay said.

During a subsequent search, police found Many Bears, 34, in possession of .6 grams of methamphetamine hidden in a “needle tube.”

Many Bears was sentenced to one year in jail on all three charges. He was, however, given credit for the equivalent of about six months he has already spent in remand custody, leaving a sentence of six months.

“He has been addicted to substances for quite some time, and that’s why these offences were committed,” Lethbridge lawyer Darcy Shurtz explained.

He said Many Bears, who believes he became addicted when he was only 14 years old, was raised by his father, who also struggled with addictions. Shurtz noted that after being in custody for several months already, Many Bears is sober, thinking clearly, and plans to seek treatment and counselling after he is released.

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