By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on January 19, 2024.
A 42-year-old man who broke into three city businesses in 2022 and 2023, and was caught in two of them, will spend some time behind bars.
Edmund Daniels was sentenced to 60 days in custody after he pleaded guilty Thursday in Lethbridge court of justice to three counts of shopbreaking/commit theft. Although Daniels was caught inside two of the businesses, he was not caught inside the third business, but police found him later with a few crumbs of evidence still in his possession.
On May 30, 2023 Lethbridge police were notified of a break-in to the Subway restaurant on Stafford Drive south downtown. When they arrived, police noted the glass door had been smashed, and a review of security video showed someone inside the business taking a tray of cookies and bags of chips.
Police found Daniels nearby shortly afterward, and he was identified by the clothes he was wearing, which matched the clothes worn by the suspect in the surveillance video. He was also caught with some incriminating evidence.
“Police found what was described as cookie crumbs in his pockets…but no analysis was done on the crumbs,” Crown Prosecutor Michael Fox said.
That was the last of the three break-ins. The first occurred on Nov. 11, 2022 at a tattoo business in the city. The unsuspecting owner entered his business early in the morning and found Daniels inside, and ordered him to leave.
Daniels had entered the business through a vent on the roof, and security footage showed him rummaging around near the cash register. He also picked up a laptop, but the owner arrived before Daniels could do anything else.
The second building Daniels broke into contained individual storage units that were simply divided by low walls. On Jan. 31 of last year the owner arrived and noticed a glass panel in the door had been smashed. She called a worker to help board up the door, then thought the culprit might still be inside. They checked each of the units and found Daniels who had, after breaking into the building, climbed over the walls dividing the storage units.
Fox said Daniels may have broken into the building just to get in out of the cold, but once inside he took advantage of what the situation offered him.
Lethbridge lawyer Ingrid Hess pointed out Daniels’ wife died about three years ago, which led him to substance abuse and homelessness. But during the past several days in custody, he has “detoxed” and plans to take treatment and change the course of his life.
Although sentenced to 60 days in custody, Daniels was credited for the equivalent of 14 days spent in remand custody, leaving a sentence of 46 days.