By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on November 22, 2023.
A southern Alberta man who bought a pickup truck that didn’t belong to the seller, has received a two-month jail sentence.
Paul Wayne McCarthy was sentenced Tuesday in Lethbridge court of justice, where he pleaded guilty to one count of possession of stolen property under $5,000.
“I did buy the vehicle off (the victim’s) son, but I am guilty of not getting it checked,” McCarthy said.
“It wasn’t his vehicle to sell. I’m out the $1,500 bucks.”
On Aug. 24 police were patrolling in Coalhurst and saw a number of people get out of a vehicle parked in an alley and go into a house. McCarthy climbed out from the driver’s seat to follow the group, but police detained him while they checked the licence plate and vehicle identification number.
The plate number was not associated with any vehicle, and the VIN identified the owner, who was surprised to learn his truck was gone.
“Police contacted him, and (he) indicated his truck should be parked in his garage, and that he didn’t realize that it was gone,” Crown Prosecutor Bob Morrison told court.
“He didn’t know Mr. McCarthy, and at that point reported it stolen.”
Defence jointly recommended with the Crown for a 60-day sentence, but noted McCarthy did not actually steal the vehicle.
“There were a number of people standing around this vehicle,” his lawyer said. “He clearly was in the driver’s seat, watched getting out, and so the constructive possession is at least there; nothing to suggest he stole it, and the vehicle was recovered, no damage was done to it.”
McCarthy, who has a criminal record which includes convictions for driving offences and stolen vehicles, was credited for 30 days spent in pre-disposition custody, which leaves him with 30 days to serve.
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