Drugs were behind the recent theft of a 50-inch television set from the Salmon Arm Walmart as well as several other thefts by the same man.
When Judge Dennis Morgan sentenced 45-year-old Craig Cleary in provincial court in Salmon Arm on Dec. 17, he said he knows Cleary well, and the underlying issue is drugs. Cleary, also known as Craig Burton, has 42 convictions, the majority of which are property crimes.
“It’s a story we see way too often. If you could get yourself off of it you could lead a good life,” Morgan told him.
The court heard that on Nov. 21 at about 9:30 p.m., Cleary left Walmart with several items he hadn’t paid for including a 50-inch TV, headphones and an air purifier.
He and a female co-accused went to the Salmon Arm Travelodge where he was heard bragging about items stolen. His co-accused tried to sell the large TV out of a shopping cart.
Police were called and the manager took an officer to the room where numerous large boxes were found as well as the two suspects in the bathroom.
The officer returned the merchandise before the store had reported the theft to the police, the court heard.
Cleary pleaded guilty to two counts, theft of property worth $5,000 or under, as well as breach of probation. He had been ordered to have no contact with his co-accused.
The judge said he would go along with a joint submission from Crown counsel and defence regarding sentencing. They had suggested a 90-day jail term.
Because Cleary had been in custody since Nov. 22, he was given time-and-a-half credit for 25 days in custody, amounting to 38 days. He will spend a further 52 days in prison.
Judge Morgan warned Cleary that when he gets out of jail, he will still be on probation from the sentence for a previous crime spree.